When your child doesn't fit in and isn't included along with her peers, it definitely hurts. Turn your focus on some positive strategies and your child will soon be feeling empowered and on top of her game.
4. Help Find a Coping Mechanism
When any of us are faced with difficult situations, one of the best practices to get back on track is to self-soothe with something that can change our mindset and make us relax and just feel better.
What you need is a coping mechanism, a method to managing the stressors in your life.
I first became familiar with coping mechanisms when I was struggling with infertility. Sometimes, out of the blue, I’d see a new baby or a commercial on TV touting family life, and I’d just fall apart. When tough emotional times would hit, I’d rely on some techniques that would usually pull me right out of the dumps. I loved to journal, so I’d list ten things I was grateful for and then write ten things I was looking forward to experiencing in the future. For instance, cuddling a new baby, or teaching my child to tie his shoes. I also found that taking a brisk walk after work would lift my spirits.
Kids can also become familiar with effective coping mechanisms to help them out during these times of feeling like they aren’t as popular as their peers. Some suggestions are:
- Engage in Positive Self-Talk. Instead of saying something like “I must be a loser, I can’t even get invited to one sleepover,” say “It’s OK that I’m not going this time. I still have friends I like to hang out with, and there will be a next time.”
- Take Deep Breaths. Taking long, slow, deep breaths helps to relax our bodies. When we relax it’s easier to focus on the situation in a different light.
- Find a Favorite Activity to Distract. If your child enjoys drawing, music or a physical activity such as skateboarding or biking encourage her to do something she excels at and that can keep her focused on things that make her feel good rather than feeling bad about not being included.
5. Strengthen Other Friendships
It can be heartbreaking to watch your child struggle to fit in, but if he has one or two friends he can still connect with, that is something important to build on. In my episode 5 Ways to Support an Unpopular Child, tip # 4 emphasizes the importance of helping your child foster individual friendships rather than trying to be popular.
Two of my eight children were not invited or included in many social situations through both junior and high school. Part of this was due to their shy personalities, and when they were included they much preferred just hanging out with their closest friends.
More important than being invited to every party that comes down the pike is to have one or two buddies that you truly enjoy being with. When the focus is on friendship and not popularity, your child will still thrive and can enjoy a fulfilling social life.
How have you helped your child cope when she isn’t included? Share your thoughts in the comment section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.