10 Ways to Help Your Child Get Over the End of a Friendship
Does your child have a BFF? It's a fact of childhood that many “best friends forever” bonds fade, fracture, or flame out at some point. It isn't a matter of if your child will experience the end of a close friendship; it's a matter of when. It can be frustrating and painful to watch your child suffer. The good news: You can help her bounce back while learning some key lessons about friendship.
Try these tips to help your child recover from the loss of a friendship:
1. Watch for signs that a close friendship is in trouble. Invite your child to tell you what's going on between her and her friend – and how she feels about it.
2. Don't assume the end of every friendship is traumatic. In general, the strength and flexibility of kids' friendships vary according age and gender.
3. Acknowledge her hurt, but give her hope that she'll make up with her friend or find a new BFF.
4. Don't take your child's pain lightly. Try to remember how you felt when you lost a friend at her age. But, in some cases, your child's sadness may indicate problems that require professional therapy, so be aware of possible danger signs.
5. Talk about how to approach the problem. Figuring out relationships can be tricky. Talk to your child about the pros and cons of confronting her friend (or letting it go), and how to go about it. You might even use role-playing to help her practice what she’ll say to her friend.
6. Don't rush in to rescue the friendship yourself! Doing so will rob your child of an important lesson in problem-solving.
7. Help your child stay busy. Engaging in her favorite activities may keep her from dwelling on her loss.
8. Respect her readiness (or reluctance) to move on. As much as you’d like her to pick herself up and get over her loss, respect her need to recover and spend some time alone.
9. Don't play matchmaker. It's tempting to recruit new friends who you think are “perfect” for your child – but resist! Kids prefer to forge their own friendships.
10. Talk over what makes a good friend, and urge your child to reach out to new ones. As she matures, she'll learn what qualities she values most in a close friend – and what traits to avoid.
By supporting and guiding your child through the end of a friendship, you'll give her relationship tools she'll need for years to come.
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