We are two weeks into back to school and this is the time where friendships are starting to form or for some are already turning south. One day your little one might come home singing the praises of their new friendship group but within a couple of days they may come home in tears after overhearing a conversation about them.
It’s inevitable that cliques and friendship groups will change over time and Dr Amanda Gummer has put together some advice that you can pass onto your little one on how to tackle friendship dramas.
Amanda is an expert having gained a PhD in neuropsychology, a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and over 20 years of experience working with children and families.
Things to remember*:
1. Think about how you say things, not just what you say.
2. Don’t say things to others that you wouldn’t want to be said to you.
3. It’s a good thing that we are all unique and have our own strengths and weaknesses.
4. You may not know how another is feeling, so always be kind in case they are already having a tough time!
5. Respect other people. Not necessarily because they are nice, but because YOU are.
*Handy advice provided by Dr Amanda Gummer, Child Psychologist.
As parents you can:
Simply listen – It sounds silly to state the obvious but as a parent you can help your little one out by listening to them. Give them your undivided attention when they are talking and use visual cues to show that you’re listening by nodding your head and use verbal phrases such as “ah I see” or “hmmm…”
Ask questions – As we all know we can’t be with our child 24/7 so if there is a friendship drama it’s important that you ask them open-ended questions as this will help you to learn more about what happened. Ask questions like “how did that make you feel when she said that?” or “what happened next?”
Keep the conversation open – Friendships change quickly and your child is going to need to talk to you often. Always end the conversation with “if you ever want to talk to me about this, I’m always here for you.”
If your child is being bullied or peer pressured, encourage them to speak out and report it to the teachers and never tell your child that “it’s nothing.”