How to Address Your Child’s Friendship Problems
How many of you parents dread your children coming home from school each day just because you’re sure that there will have been some sort of drama that you’re not sure how to handle? How often does your child experience friendship problems?
Depending on how old your child is, they are likely to have some issues with friendships. Arguments may stem from jealousy, misunderstandings, or just a small throwaway comment that has created an aftermath. Friendship problems between teenagers are pretty common and it seems that at this age we learn who is a true friend and who is just tagging along and causing issues. It can be quite difficult for parents, especially when friendships fall out but the parents of the two children are acquaintances or friends.
In fact, Voucherbox recently researched how parents feel about their children’s friends, and how they may feel about the other parents. Do parents fight in the playground as much as children? The study showed some interesting results! They revealed that over 40% of parents admit disliking one or more of their children’s friends, and one in three parents also disapproved of the parents of those children. Dads are apparently more likely to encourage their child to socialise elsewhere, while mothers are a bit more understanding. Most parents will quietly try and urge their child to make new friends or hang out with children they like, but some do not try to influence their friendship choice.
What Age Are There Problems?
It seems that when children are between the ages of 3 to 10 years old, friendship problems are often caused by jealousy, bossiness and manipulation. Once a child hits their teenage years, more issues are introduced, such as peer pressure, wanting to hang around with the “cool” gang, and being left out because they do not fit into this or that type of stereotypical teenager. Of course, hormones and puberty has a massive influence on behaviour. Once children have got beyond 15 years of age, the hormones begin to regulate and these issues start to settle down. Especially for girls, teenage years can be really quite difficult and the transition from primary school to senior school can be a time of anxiety and huge transformation.
How to Help Your Child
When your child is experiencing friendship problems, they often do not want to be told how to handle it. It’s much better to talk things through with them and make them think they have come to a good conclusion on what to do, all by themselves. Chat to them like a friend and when they tell you about their friend’s bad behaviour, you can point out that it’s not really acceptable, but leave the drama to them – “I’m surprised to hear they acted that way. How did it make you feel?”
Children are growing and learning how to handle new situations all the time, so although you will feel naturally protective towards them, they also must work things out for themselves sometimes. If your child is quiet and detached, then there may well be a friendship issue. Try and coax them into talking, as they may be completely stuck as to what to do.