What if your child suddenly quarreled with his best friend? 'BEFORE' tips to help you cope
On the one hand, you want to help the child and put him out of his misery. On the other hand, you understand that no one is safe from experiences, and children cannot be protected from any little thing. Of course, in the first days after the break, the intensity of passions will be the highest. But what if, even after the passage of time, the child cannot cope with betrayal or resentment? What if he can't make new friends? Some children quickly switch to a new social circle, and for some, establishing close relationships is not an easy task. After ten years, according to psychologists, the child begins the time of active self-determination. The child begins to think about what he would like to do in the future, to look for his place in society, but for now his society is those whom he meets at school and after school. Gradually, children become more and more emotionally separated from their parents, and the opinion of friends and classmates becomes more and more important. But the social skills that schoolchildren possess are still minimal. That's why in middle school, guys change friends so often - they look for matches, and this can only be done through trial and error. Throw in hormonal changes, rapid growth, and leaders who can ruthlessly bully weak guys (both boys and girls).
But how should parents behave with all this? Is it worth it to dispassionately observe what is happening or try to protect the child from trouble? And, although there are no universal recipes, all psychologists agree on one thing: establishing friendships is your child's problem, not yours. And with or without adult support, but he has to deal with this on his own.
Children's friendship is a rehearsal for serious and adult relationships. A child learns things like trust, intimacy, loy alty. And if your intervention is too persistent, it will prevent children from gaining experience that may be invaluable in the future. However, this does not mean that parents should stay away.
If the child is abandoned.
Start a conversation. While you shouldn't be overprotective of your child, remember that you are their main support right now, so be sure to try to talk about their feelings. Children most often want to share their problems, and if the parents do not condemn or lecture at the same time, a heart-to-heart conversation will take place. The best thing you can do is to let the child know that you are ready to listen to him at any time. It will be enough for someone to offer to drink tea together, but for someone it’s not so easy to start talking about sore problems, so parents will need a little patience and the first step towards. You should not ask: “Are you worried about the fact that Katya is no longer friends with you?” The answer to you will be a mean "yes" or "no". Ask: “Why do you think she did this?” And most likely the child will begin to think aloud.
Second important point - do not criticize the actions of the child and do not give advice that you have not been asked for. If parents try to dictate what they think a child should do, the dialogue stops.
Help your child put the incident into perspective. Here is a typical case: 9-year-old Julia suffered greatly from being constantly teased by a girl she considered her best friend. And, although Yulia was very upset by ridicule, she did not want to give up her "girlfriend". In such a case, it is worth sitting down and talking in detail with the child about what meaning he puts into the concept of “friend”. How do real friends behave? Do they support each other? Do not give offense? And what behavior is unacceptable towards friends?
If you notice that the reason for the gap was the wrong behavior of your child, you need to say this, but in a mild form. First of all, it is worth commending that friendship is important for a child. And then try to explain as tenderly as possible that some of the actions that the child performs not only do not help him achieve the desired goal, but even interfere. For example, boys often try to appear funny and witty, and as a result hurt those around them with their jokes. Help to understand what is wrong and talk about what can be changed and how to impress others in less painful ways.
Try to expand your social circle. New acquaintances help the child to be distracted and start over. This is especially useful if the relationship at school leaves much to be desired. Classmates know their friends as flaky, and it's very difficult to change how you are perceived. An art studio, a sports section, a discussion club where children of different ages are engaged are ideal. Expanding your social circle is helpful even when your child has a friend at school: if a bosom friend gets sick or moves away, your child won't feel isolated.
Use the phrase "best friend" less often. This characteristic creates an ideal image, hence the excessive demands. More often than not, friendships that start in elementary school fade as the kids grow up. The child needs to understand that this is normal: if your interests have changed, new friends may appear. In books and films, we often find stories about true friendship, which was born in childhood and passed all the tests. But this is rare in real life.
Don't take your child's feelings lightly. Never say, "Nonsense, make friends with someone else!" Let your child know that you are aware of how difficult it is for him, and are ready to support him. You can talk about your experiences at the same age.
Don't scold your ex-friend. "I'm even glad you're not friends with him anymore! He's lazy and a bully, now you even study better!" "It's better not to say things like that. Children quarrel and then reconcile. And if your child improves relations with a friend, these words may well be remembered to you, and more than once.
Don't call friends' parents. As much as you'd like to help, don't let yourself be dragged into a showdown with former friends and their parents. It is natural for parents to protect their children by blaming others for all mortal sins. Therefore, if you do not want to hear unpleasant words about your children, do not interfere. It is important that the child understands that you believe in his strength and that he will cope with the situation.
When your child left a friend.
Help and support. Talk about how to end a relationship with the least loss. Rehearse what you can say to a former friend so as not to offend him. In some cases, it is even worth rehearsing the dialogue by roles. Teach your child to build the so-called "I-phrases", which sound less categorical and less offensive to the interlocutor than "you-phrases". You should not say: "You don't know how to roller skate, so I'm not interested in you." Much better: “I now go to sports and have less time after school.”
Share your experiences. Starting and ending relationships is a skill like any other. And this means that the child needs examples and role models. Stories from your life or from the lives of your friends will help the child realize that there is no perfect friendship and friction between friends is inevitable. He will probably be able to look at his friend less critically and want to save the relationship. Great if you succeed-
shall convey to the children the following idea: there are not many close friends, but there may be friends with whom it is interesting to spend time.
Don't let yourself pressure your child. Even if your child is not even seven years old, he has the right to choose who to be friends with and who not. You cannot insist on your desires. When a child feels that you are unhappy with his behavior, he may feel guilty. On the contrary, the task of an adult is to explain that there is no one to blame.
When things get serious.
But still, there are situations in which adults are obliged to intervene, and as soon as possible. If you suspect that there is a threat to the mental or physical he alth of one of the children, adult assistance is needed. There are frequent cases when a former friend not only breaks off relations, but also persuades other classmates to arrange a boycott for the child. In such situations, you can safely turn to teachers and even to the headmaster.
In addition, psychologists who specialize in adolescents can help you (a good option to start is a free school psychologist: even if the conflict occurred outside the school, they can help you with advice). Alarming symptoms that should be a signal for immediate adult intervention are sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, a child's refusal to go to school, and (in extreme cases) suicidal thoughts. If the conflict continues for more than three months, seek help from specialists.
How to deal with a bully friend?
How to behave if your child has chosen a notorious bully as a friend? Top tip: Don't rush to ban communication, unless the new friend has been in trouble with the law. If you simply do not allow a child to be friends with someone, then war will inevitably begin.
First of all, take a look at your new friend. Maybe he's not as bad as he seems? Try to find out what attracted the child to a new friend. “You quickly became friends. Do you have common interests? - "Your new girlfriend is different from other girls, what do you like about her?"
Share your concerns. Be very careful with your words. “I heard that he got into the police for a fight on the street. This is true?" If you are worried, let the children see you at your home for the first time, under your supervision.
If you are convinced that a new friend is a bad influence on your child, forbid them to communicate. Say: "Your safety is most important to me." And correctly list the reasons.