Children of all ages can have issues within their friendship groups, or between themselves and a particular friend. As a parent, it can be heart-breaking to see your child getting upset over these issues, and often we want to act as quickly as possible. If friendship issues are causing problems for your child, read on for three key tips on how to deal with this.
Take It Slow
Your child is upset, so of course you want to fix it. However, depending on the nature of the falling out, there isn’t always a quick fix. Make sure to listen to your child, and try to establish the facts. If they are very visibly upset about an incident, let them calm down and talk about something else until they are ready to tell you about what happened. Making notes might help you work things out, and you can also repeat statements back to your child to make sure you’ve got their versions of events correct. Unless the incident is entirely unrelated to school, or very minor, it is worth letting your child’s teacher know about it. This will let the teacher keep an eye on any incidents at school, and may also prevent further incidents as the teacher can make sure certain children don’t sit next to each other.
Take It Seriously
Especially when children are younger, falling out and friendship issues can seem minor, as children squabble over seemingly insignificant things. It is really important to show your child that you are taking their concerns seriously. Firstly, this will reassure them that adults are willing to fix a problem that, to them at least, seems very serious. Secondly, if and when your child comes to you with a more serious problem, they will trust you with the facts because they know that you’ve got their back. Repeat phrases such as “I’m listening to you”, and “I hear what you’re saying”. Explain what you’re going to do to try and fix the issue, whether this is talking with the parents of another child, or meeting with your child’s teacher.
Encourage Your Child
If your child is going through a rocky patch with a friend, listen to them and take them seriously, but also advise them branch out and play with other children. This will make them feel happier, as they will have more positive interactions with a wider range of children, and it will also mean that if the original friendship can’t be repaired, your child has other social options.