As kids try and get adjusted to the new school year, many children will experience difficulties making and maintaining new friendships. Making friendships is critical to helping kids improve their communication and sharing skills. Some children who are impulsive and hyperactive sometimes engage in behaviors that sabotage their ability to make new friends. Also, for children and adolescents who are shy and introverted, it can be very overwhelming to initiate conversations with peers.
From a child’s perspective, making friends is just as important as performing well academically. If you notice that your child is struggling socially and/or being bullied, here are some steps you can take to help. Remember, as a parent it is not practical for you to make friendships on behalf of your child. It is possible to help your child make friendships without enabling them. Giving your child opportunities to grow socially can help them feel more self-motivated to make friends. You can help them build the skills needed to make healthy friendships. Try to:
While making friendships can be an anxiety-provoking situation, with the right skills your child can be on their way to making healthy friendships. Also, remember that a crucial component to healthy friendships is trust. You can always ask your child what qualities they like about their friends, as well as any necessary adjustments they believe they need to make in their friendship circle.
Chelsea Moodie, M.S., APC, NCC