Children make and break friendships all the time but occasionally you might feel like your child is having trouble either making new friends, or retaining friendships. It can be really upsetting to think that your child might be missing out on valuable relationships. Fortunately there are things you can do to help your child without feeling like you are interfering with their lives.
Some children have natural social ability, while others struggle with interacting successfully. By teaching your child the skills they will need to have a friendship, you make it easier for them. Teach your child to share by practising and rewarding sharing in the home. Use role-play to teach your child how to interact, you can do this while playing ‘shop? or dressing up as different characters. Point out to your child when characters on television behave well to others and when they don?t. By gently pointing out good behaviour in others and rewarding it in your child, they will learn how to treat others.
If your child sees you behaving well with your own nearest and dearest, they will mimic it when they are dealing with friends. This is one of the strongest arguments for biting your tongue and not losing your temper!
If your child is finding it hard to make friends, ask them why this is.
If they simply feel that they don?t want to be friends with the children they spend time with, then opening another opportunity for them to mix with more like-minded people could be all it takes. Children are often expected to get along with every other child of their own age, but it doesn?t always work out like that. Engage your child in a hobby where they might meet other children.
If your child feels too shy to make new friends, or you notice them pushing potential friends away, try to work on talking it through and building their confidence. Make sure they know that you think they would be a wonderful friend; in fact, tell them they are a great friend to you.
It might seem like a very obvious answer, but making your home accessible to your child’s friends, letting them shine in their own environment could be a great way to help them come out of their shell and make friends. Whether this means having a party, or simply organising a play date, let your child have some responsibility over it- let him choose a few snacks to share with his friends, for example.
Teach your child to deal with conflict by talking rather than turning their back on the friend they have fallen out with or worse still, lashing out physically or verbally. Resolve any conflict in the home carefully so as to teach your child how to get around an argument easily through compromising. If they see the other members of the family dealing with conflict in a positive way, they are more likely to do this themselves with their friends, and less likely to have problems holding onto friendships.