Helping Your Child to Make Friends at School
What a parent can do in helping their child to make friends?
Making friends is a skill which is naturally instilled in some or is
acquired through learning in other people. Any how, learning to make
friends is very important since humans are social beings and rely on
others in some way or the other. So, it is crucial to guide children
in acquiring the skill from early stages of their lives itself. When
some children find it very easy to make friends, others find it very
difficult to do so because of a low self esteem, shyness, lack of confidence
or several other factors. It is the responsibility of the parents to
help children to overcome the barrier that prevent them from acquiring
Why to help children in making friends?
Helping to make friends is
more than helping your child to become more popular at school. It has
some long term effects too. Children who do not have any friends usually
have a lower self esteem and as a result become much depressed and might
perform poorly in academics too. Such children become more withdrawn
and feel lonelier. They also tend to get health problems easily.
Parenting styles play important
role in peer relationships. An Authoritative style of parenting, which
has high levels of nurturing and moderate levels of controls have positive
effects on child’s ability to develop peer relationships. Some of
the nurturing kind of behaviors includes showing love and affection
to their children, considering their view points, being friendly and
giving encouragement and positive reinforcement. Such parents also set
behavioral standards for their children and convey the importance of
compliance with those standards.
Tips for Parents to Help Your Child
- Teach your child the basics of social interaction like greeting others, keeping eye contact while talking, answering in full sentence rather than using a single word etc.
- Talk to and discuss with your child about the problem and help him/her out of it.
- Talk to the concerned teachers about your child’s difficulty so that they can plan several opportunities for your child to mingle with other children.
- Allow shy children to talk for themselves when situations demand by not answering for them when they keep quiet and encouraging them to do so.
- Encourage your child to take part in sports, hobbies, or activities in which they excel. This will increase their self confidence.
- Let your child take part in sports, drama or music clubs, which will help to make friends with like minded children.
- Encourage your child to take part in group activities and events at school which are great opportunities to mingle with other children.
- Let your child talk about how the day went at school. This will help to know the kind of interactions of your child with others and give you opportunities to develop the required skills.
- Encourage your child to invite a school pal or playmate over for a meal, or to join a family activity such as a day out or a trip away.
- Do not hesitate to seek the help of the child psychologist or school counselor when needed.
There may be other reasons too for a child to have difficulty to make friends. Upheavals such as relocating to a new school, moving to a new city or area, or even moving to a new country can be devastating to a child’s sense of security and identity.
Problems at home or some personal difficulties may be other reasons. Parents should try to find the root cause of the problems and come up with possible solutions to help their children.