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Helping your child make and keep friends- how much is to much?

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  • Helping your child make and keep friends- how much is to much?

    So, I thought it was real hands-on helping my children learn to socialize, interact and play with others during the toddler years, but I thinks its equally hands-on now that 2 of my children are older (6 and 8).

    How do you help your child navigate the sometimes cruel world of friendships? I see cliques already forming in 2nd grade, I see some kids that seem socially much older, playdates, working through conflict, etc?

    thanks for any thoughts...

  • #2
    This is a really tough question and something that I struggle with. Since my son has Asperger's Syndrome the whole "socialization" thing is tricky. He was in a social skills class for months and it helped tremendously. However, that just kind of taught him the general rules of peer interaction.

    We don't live in the neighborhood where my son's school is (we're a few districts over and the school is ~ 20 miles away) so the outside-of-school socialization is hard. I think that if you can incorporate playdates or just evenings outside with the neighborhood kids that it will help.

    Are your children open in discussing their days? Do their friends kind of come and go? I know that with Alexander (1st grade) that he's got one buddy for a few weeks then he's on to another. I don't know how typical this is though.

    Hmm, so three paragraphs in and I haven't provided much insight. LOL I have similar questions though so hopefully someone with some great ideas sees this and shares.

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    • #3
      Hi!
      My oldest dd, now 14, experienced the goods and bads of friendships in those early elementary years. She was a real social butterfly and had a few friends who only wanted her for themselves and would become very mean to her. I remember reasuring her that good friends didn't treat another person badly, and if they were being mean then there were better friends to have. I made sure she knew to always be welcoming and nice to them no matter how they treated her and others. Today at the age of 14 she has a group of about 9 girls who are all nice and very outgoing and she isn't falling into those clique traps you see in middle school.

      There were many tears shed way back! Good luck. I did try and get the *bad* friend together with my dd and also the other friend's so they all could see how fun it was to have more then 1 friend. It needs to be supported by the parent to branch out and be nice and excepting of others I think.

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      • #4
        my kiddos are a bit younger, but i'm an elementary teacher and use Non-Violent Communication (NVC) w/both my children and my students. it think that it's really important to help them use this language in trying to understand their own needs and their peers. i think it truly gives them a leg-up when forming friendships.

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        • #5
          We bought DD Friends: Making Them & Keeping Them when she started having issues in grades 3 and 4. Teaching our children how to be a good friend is key. We did that through role playing, talking, and reading books about friends.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by amamaof4 View Post
            Hi!
            My oldest dd, now 14, experienced the goods and bads of friendships in those early elementary years. She was a real social butterfly and had a few friends who only wanted her for themselves and would become very mean to her. I remember reasuring her that good friends didn't treat another person badly, and if they were being mean then there were better friends to have. I made sure she knew to always be welcoming and nice to them no matter how they treated her and others. Today at the age of 14 she has a group of about 9 girls who are all nice and very outgoing and she isn't falling into those clique traps you see in middle school.

            There were many tears shed way back! Good luck. I did try and get the *bad* friend together with my dd and also the other friend's so they all could see how fun it was to have more then 1 friend. It needs to be supported by the parent to branch out and be nice and excepting of others I think.
            I want to thank you for this post. My 9 year old dd has one friend that is only her friend when it's convenient and when it's not convenient, this girl is very mean to my dd. I'm always explaining to her this is not how a real friend asks, but it usually results in a lot of tears and heartbreak. It's nice to hear there is an end in sight and hopefully my dd will be able to recognize her true friends in the near future.

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