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mary3260
mary3260 asks:
Q:

My 7 year old son says no one likes him at summer camp.

My 7 year old son says no one likes him at summer camp. At times he seems unhappy and says most of the kids do not like him. He says no one at camp wants to be his friend and that some call him names and make mean comments to him. My son is very smart and fun-loving; he is a great little boy but very shy. It is very hard for him to strike up a conversation or befriending another child. I also remind him of what a great boy he is and how much he is loved at home. It amazes me to see how kids this young can be so cruel. It upsets me to see him this way and wish I can go to the camp and make it all better for him. I feel very helpless.
In Topics: Self esteem and identity, Bullying and teasing, Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Hand in Hand
Aug 2, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Mary,

I'm so sorry this is happening to you and your son. And I understand why you might feel helpless about the situation, but I want to reassure you that you're not helpless here. Here are several ideas you can try. And I hope you will always remember that the most important thing your son has going for him is you. Studies have shown that if just one person in a child's life is consistently supportive, a child is much more likely to overcome difficult circumstances. Just one person who is enthusiastic about the child. Just one person who lights up when the child walks into the room. And he already has that in you.

The first thing I would like you to try sounds simple: Set aside ten minutes each day to play with your son. Just you and him. Set the timer for ten minutes and during that time you enthusiastically, with lots of warmth and attention, play in whatever way he wants. He's fully in charge for that time. Whatever he chooses to do for those ten minutes, love it and get into it with gusto. Don't let anything short of the house catching fire interrupt your focus on your child for those ten minutes! This is his time until the timer goes off. Then tell him how much you loved being with him to play and remind him when the two of you will have Special Time together again.

This simple-sounding process has amazing power to build confidence, self-esteem, creative thinking and resilience in a child. As you pour in your loving attention, he will have a stronger and stronger ability to deal with the wider world in ways that work for him. You can read more about this process and several other ideas for you and your son, in the resources listed below.

Julianne Idleman
www.handinhandparenting.org
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