Do you have a child being excluded by friends? It can happen to children at school or even in your own neighborhood. Not much is harder to watch than to see you child struggle with feeling left out or less than. You might ask yourself why your child is being excluded, or why you feel like your child has no friends.
In fact, in my career as a teacher, I have come to realize that it almost seems to be a right of passage during the elementary school years. Therefore, I would actively look for those who seemed to internalize their emotions, which often made the situation worse.
Additionally, when they internalized their loneliness and sadness, it made them seem less approachable which made matters worse. What if you could catch these feelings before they fester? Well, good news. You can! And at the end of this post, I’ll share some pointers on how to help your child make a keep healthy relationships!
Steps You Can Take to Help Your Child with Exclusion
According to Greater Good Magazine, “Though parents may feel powerless when a child is excluded, there is much they can do to help with this painful experience.” Here are six quick ways to help your child with feelings of exclusion:
- Validate their feelings: Let your child know that you understand how they feel and that it is normal to feel upset or hurt when excluded by friends.
- Encourage them to talk about it: Encourage your child to talk about what happened and how they are feeling. Be a good listener and offer support.
- Help them identify other supportive relationships: Encourage your child to identify other supportive relationships, such as family members, teachers, or other friends. This can help them feel less alone.
- Explore ways to address the situation: Ask your child if they would like your help in addressing the situation. This may involve talking to the friend’s parents or teacher, or encouraging your child to speak directly with their friend about how they feel.
- Focus on positive activities: Encourage your child to focus on positive activities that they enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, or clubs. This can help them feel more confident and build new friendships.
- Model positive behavior: Model positive behavior by being kind, respectful, and inclusive in your own relationships. This can help your child learn how to navigate social situations in a positive way.
Remember, it’s important to support your child through this difficult time and to help them develop positive coping skills that they can use in the future.
Further, we have all had to go through feelings of being left out as a child. Equally, it is important to feel and experience these tough feelings. A child has to learn to ability to work through tough emotions in order to become stronger mentally. We cannot shield our children from all hard situations in life. In fact, if we did, we would be doing them (and society) a disservice.
Finally, I strongly believe each child can work through and overcome feelings of being excluded by friends if they have a strong sense of security at home. Just reminding your child that you are always going to be there for them will make all the difference in the world.
How to Help Your Child Make & Keep Healthy Relationships
Making and keeping friendships is an important aspect of a child’s social development. Here are some tips to help your child build and maintain friendships:
- Encourage social interaction: Encourage your child to interact with others and participate in social activities. This can include playdates, joining clubs or sports teams, and attending community events.
- Teach social skills: Help your child develop social skills such as active listening, sharing, taking turns, and expressing emotions. Practice these skills with your child in role-playing scenarios.
- Be a good role model: Model positive social behavior by demonstrating kindness, empathy, and respect towards others.
- Help your child find common interests: Encourage your child to find activities or interests they share with other children. This can help facilitate friendships based on shared interests.
- Foster open communication: Teach your child to communicate effectively and express themselves clearly. This can help them avoid misunderstandings and conflicts with their friends.
- Help your child deal with conflicts: Teach your child conflict resolution skills such as compromise and negotiation. Encourage them to communicate openly and honestly with their friends when conflicts arise.
- Monitor and limit screen time: Excessive screen time can limit social interaction and inhibit the development of social skills. Set limits on screen time and encourage your child to spend more time engaged in social activities.
Remember, building and maintaining friendships takes time and effort. Encourage your child to be patient, resilient, and open to new experiences.
I sure hope this article has helped you in some way if your child is being excluded by friends. It’s a tough life lesson to navigate, but oh so important in order to become an adult with healthy relationships.
Lastly, remember–we can all do hard things!
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