Tips that will help you support your child:
I have always thought that having children is like having your heart ripped out, adding 2 small legs to it and let it run around in the big scary world. Every time they get hurt or feel sad my heart is squashed and punched
We all want our kids to be happy! And if they are not happy we suffer and go into a ‘fixing frantic’ to make them ultra-happy so the hurt and sadness can go way.
And one thing that really hurt is when we feel, think or know that our kids have no friends!
Top tips to support my child:
- Is it true, do they have NO friends!! Or is it us that think so or maybe is related to our own inner self-belief or confidence. Find out from school what they think. Get a good feel about what is going on, maybe they are actually just happy in their own skin and company, which is OK!
- What is the reason: Before we react and act, have a think about what might the reason be! Is the child doing something to cause the situation (i.e. bullying, being the clown, being arrogant or loud o maybe too shy and low self-esteem) or are we talking about our child being bullied. Maybe your child has a low self-esteem and might feel that he/she is not ‘worth’ having friends or find it hard to approach friendship. Maybe your child finds socialising challenging and we can then coach him/her to towards being more sociable-confidence.
- Recast labels and chill: by placing lots of attention and energy on the subject ‘NO FRIENDS’, we might actually increase it or make it worth and start labelling our child as ‘has no friends’ or ‘has social issues’ or ‘is shy and award’. Remember that kids will live up to the exceptions they are given!! Don’t keep asking and dicking abut ‘who did you play with today’ ‘did you sit next to somebody’ ‘would you like to invite a friend over today or over the weekend’, ‘what are you doing this weekend (hoping he/she will say ‘having a friend over’). The child might have forgotten about it but by us reminding them over and over again, they get back into the ‘sad’ feeling they had maybe yesterday. So chill and give it a break once in a while:
- Give them a break: yes we do want to help (and of course need to do so) but we don’t need to talk about IT all the time. It is important to give you and your child a break from the subject and have a ‘normal’ parent and child relationship. Try to set aside at least 10mins a day where you connect without battles, worries or interrogations. This special time will also give your child an opportunity to feel safe and relaxed to open up and talk if wants to. Have fun and laugh.
- Listen, understand and accept: Yes we want to give advice, yes we do know the best, but try to just listen! Listen to understand your child not just hearing it. Come from a place of understanding, ‘I understand that you are upset, sad etc.’ and accept that this is the way your child feel right now ‘and that is ok’. Your acceptance and understanding of the situation is your child biggest help to cope with the situation, if we think it is OK and will be Ok and then it is OK and will be OK.
- Home-based Reward Program: talk to child about a social situation that often causes difficulties. Agree on 1 or 2 behaviours to work on and agree how to measure it so you both know when you have achieved it. I.e. playground: Talk less. Listen more or i.e. friends over; ask what they like to do, offer them before I take myself etc. Write it up as an agreement and have a chat about it every day.
- Be a social mentor; take your child to the park or ‘set up’ a play situation and offer social skills before it goes wrong ‘Sam, I can see you would like that toy shall we ask if it is your turn’. Use friends, family or siblings to be part of the ‘play set up’. Discuss with your child how his/her behavior can contribute to the struggle to make friends. For example, engage in a role play where you act as child who won’t share.
- Consider a ‘healthy activity’ that challenges him to develop his own expertise. I.e. horse riding, table tennis, Lego club, chess club, archery, tennis, arts, be a goalie, scouts. Where he is in a group but there is measurement of child’s individual performance. Think about what makes your child happy/confident?
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All the best from
The ParentingSuccess Team