Help your Child Build Friendships
Friends are an integrate part of life. When you are born, most of us are blessed with parents and relatives. Friends are the only relationships which we can choose from. Your child's friendships are bound to have ups and downs, but the right approach can help her smooth the bumps.
Your child needs buddies as much as she needs food and exercise. One review of research found that children who find it challenging to make and keep friends are more likely to have mental issues like aggression and depression as teenagers. Those who can effectively navigate social situations have less anxiety and greater self-confidence.
Try these strategies to deal with common social snags.
---If your child is not an outgoing or friendly by nature, reassure your child that even grown-ups can feel nervous when approaching people they don't know -- but that there are ways to make it easier. Teach him/her this three-step process, do some role-playing at home and then take her to a park for a small test run:
1. Stand close to a group of kids and watch what they're playing for a few minutes.
2. Once he/she has figured it out (they're playing house, for example), think about what the game might need (a puppy, etc?). If there are teams, see which one has fewer players or could use some help.
3. Ask to join in ("That looks like fun. Can I play too?"). Coach your child to smile and make eye contact so the other kids are more receptive to including her.
---"When Rhea plays with Riddh
ima , they leave me out!"
When your child is on a playdate with two or more kids, try to steer her toward group activities to break the ice, such as an art project or a game of hide-and-seek. Often these structured starts lead to more natural, harmonious playtime later on.
---Beyond the BFF
Your child and her pal are practically joined at the hip. They have special nicknames and a private handshake. At school they pair up in line, at lunch, and in short break. Is that a problem?
Not necessarily. "A best friend is a wonderful thing." Numerous studies confirm that having a long-lasting friendship boosts a child's security and self-esteem and helps buffer the impact of stressful events, like starting at a new school. Even spats between two friends can be constructive, since they'll force them to develop problem-solving skills that will come in handy down the road with a spouse, a boss, and their own kids.
That said, you don't want your child's singular friendship to become so intense that she cuts off other peers. Relying exclusively on one buddy isn't healthy -- kids can grow apart, and your child needs someone else to fall back on. While there's no need to "break them up," encourage her to make other friends and play in bigger groups more often. "It's important for your child to have a few kids with whom she feels some sense of intimacy."
Therefore, your child should be able to make friends with peers. It can be an inbuilt quality or a quality which can be developed over time. Your child should have more than one friend. Having only one friend isn’t healthy in the long run.