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My child has no friends

my child has no friends
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Seeing your child struggle to make friends can be heartbreaking.  They know that they are being ignored and left-out, and may cry sadly with you because they simply do not know how to manage or change the situation.  Your natural reaction is to want to help, so what can you do?  Here are a few strategies to get you started:

Why is your Child Struggling to make friends?

Working out why your child is finding it hard to fit-in can help you to find the best solutions.  There are many reasons why some children find making friends difficult, and these may include:

  • You have just moved to a new area and your child does not know anyonemy child has no friends
  • Extreme shyness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poorly developed social skills
  • Unusually high intelligence
  • Learning or physical disabilities
  • Anything that marks your child out as different

Strategies for Change

Some of the above reasons are easier to address than others, but in each case helping your child to become comfortable in their own skin, and to like and value themselves at a basic level will provide the necessary groundwork for improved relationships.  Self-confidence, without arrogance, is a naturally attractive trait.

Help a child who is naturally shy by finding ways for them to make friends outside of a crowd.  Individual play-dates can build your child’s confidence without the pressure of a group.  Joining groups outside of school can also help your child to build their self-esteem in an environment where they are sharing an activity they enjoy.

Fitting in

Kids are great at singling out anyone who is different, so whilst individual style and preferences are important, help your child to fit-in as much as possible at a simple level.  Good personal hygiene, a fashionable haircut, and clothes that are in keeping with those worn by the other children will all help to establish your child on a level with his or her peers.

Social development

Social skills are a key factor in making and keeping friends.  Learning to empathise, be a good listener, share and co-operate are skills your child will benefit from throughout their life.  Take every opportunity to flag such behaviours to your child, and talk about the implications of interactions where social skills have not been employed.  Helping your child to understand and name their own feelings will allow them to learn how their actions can make others feel.

Special needsmy child has no friends

Learning or physical disabilities are harder to address, but getting professional advice and diagnosis can help to put a label on the problem and may deliver medically proven ways in which to help your child fit in better.  Even though children do not understand complex disorders, being able to give it a name can help them to see that your child is different because of something that is beyond their control.

Try to keep the following in mind when trying to help your child:

  • Set realistic goals and expectations – let your child know it’s ok to only have one or two good friends, and that every good interaction he has is a positive step, no matter how small
  • Accept that some children simply prefer their own company, and if your child is one then help them learn to be comfortable with themselves, but also to recognise that their personality may draw some negative attention because peers find it difficult to understand
  • Be a good role model by exposing you child to your own friendships and the way you relate to others.  They can learn much from your behaviour, and gain confidence from seeing you in action

 

 

 

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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