My child has friendship issues
- Encouraging your child to solve problems.
Things you can try
Stop and listen before stepping in.
It’s completely understandable to want to protect your child. But try not to jump in too quickly to fix things for them.
When your child has an argument with a friend, it can be very hard not to take sides. And sometimes you might have such a hard time seeing your child in pain that you get angry at the other child. But this can make it difficult to really listen to your child’s experience and understand their feelings.
It’s natural to have strong feelings about your child’s friendship issues. Maybe they make you think back to how you were treated by friends when you were a child. If you take a moment to notice how their worries are affecting you, it will help you manage your emotions. Then you can better support them as they find a solution.
Reassure them that it’s natural for friends to fall out sometimes.
Children’s friendships often change and can look different depending on your child’s age and stage of development. While having friends at school is important, it is perfectly ordinary for your child to have difficulties with their friendships.
Let your child know that being friends doesn’t always mean agreeing or getting along with others all the time.
Help your child move past the anger and hurt
It’s important to help our children learn how to make up again. Listen to your child and show you understand how they’re feeling by helping them name their emotions. Once your child feels understood, they will be better able to move past the anger and the hurt. That’s when you can help them to start problem-solving.
Encourage them to come up with their own ideas to deal with friendship issues.
My son came home upset with his friend for teasing him in front of his class. He said he didn’t want him to come to his birthday party anymore. We talked through it together. I said it was okay to feel embarrassed and angry. That helped him move beyond those feelings. Then I asked him what might help, and what he could do next. He started to think about how to resolve the conflict.
Help them grow confidence in their friendship skills
Friendship difficulties can happen for different reasons. Your child might be shy or like to take control or lack confidence with friends. You can help. Talk to them about what makes a good friend, and practice friendship skills such as listening, sharing, compromising, and negotiating. Sit together and explore examples in everyday life, and from TV and books. This will help your child think about what makes a good friend and feel less worried about friendship issues.
You can also encourage friendships beyond school, like joining clubs or arranging play dates.
Your child is unique and we hope there are some takeaways here that work for you. If you’re looking for help parenting children with additional needs, you can get specific advice from specialist organisations. Check out our list of support that we can recommend.
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