8 Ways to Help Your Child Make Friends and Fit In
For some kids, making friends and finding a social circle is easy, while for others it can be a struggle. Mighty Mommy shares 8 tips you can use to help your child through the lonely periods of fitting in and generating new friendships.
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We all want to see our kids succeed in their endeavors and be surrounded by good friends. For some kids, however, the school social scene can be just as challenging as the academics. And for parents, watching a child struggling to fit in and make friends can be heartbreaking.
Mighty Mommy has witnessed this many times with her own 8 kids. Some easily created their social circles, while others had a tough time. That's why today, I've got 8 tried and true tips that can help your child fitt in and generate new friendships.
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Children can have problems making friends and getting along with others for numerous reasons. The age of the child, the kinds of behaviors that might be part of the problem, and even something as simple as a phase that the child is going through can affect his ability to connect. Here's what you can do to help:
Tip #1: Don’t Overreact
It’s easy to lose our objectivity and get upset and even feel powerless when our child tells you he’s being excluded from school or social activities and feels as though he doesn’t have any friends.
Before you can help your child, take a few minutes to assess the situation before you react. If he sees how upset you are about his lack of friends, he might think there is something wrong with him and that it’s his fault. So approach the entire situation from a place of calm and perspective. Just think about the famous mantra: "This, too, shall pass."
See also: 5 Ways to Speak Positively To Children
Tip #2: Assess Your Child’s Friendship Skills
One of the most common reasons for friendship problems is behavior that annoys other children. Kids don’t like other kids who are bossy, mean-spirited, or rough. It is simply not fun to play with someone who doesn't share or doesn't follow the rules. Sometimes children who have learning problems or attention problems can have trouble making friends because they find it hard to understand and follow the rules of games.
Children who get angry easily and lose their temper when things don't go their way can also have a hard time getting along with others. Shyness or insecurity are just two more reasons for social distress.
Parents tend to know their kids best, so take some time to see if there is an actual behavioral culprit that is behind your child's inability to make friends. If you’re noticing an obvious problem at home during playtime with siblings or dolls, you can start incorporating some social situation skills into your own interaction so as to guide the child to appropriate responses when playing with others.
Tip #3: Teach Body Language and Social Skills
Some children have a hard time picking up on other people’s expressions, body language, or social cues. These kids are often prone to thinking they’re being disapproved of or disliked, even when they’re not.
For instance, one of my kids had a personal space issue. He is very outgoing and genuinely gets enthusiastic to share something with other kids. We noticed he was sometimes getting too close and actually invading their personal space. We explained this to him and also did some modeling and role playing so he could see what we were talking about. He picked up on it quickly and taught himself to think of an invisible bubble between himself and the other kids so they wouldn’t feel like he was in their face.