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One of our main concerns as parents is that our children manage to relate positively with their peers, integrate and function properly in a group and that they discover little by little what it means to have a friend. But, there are some children who find it difficult to make friends. How can parents help them to learn to socialize and build relationships among equals?
There are children who naturally make friends easily. However, there are others who find it difficult. They are those who normally go alone at recess, who no one chooses them for team activities and who on many occasions are left out of invitations and fun activities.
These relationship difficulties may be due to:
- They are very dominant in games and teamwork
They are children who always want to command, decide the games and define the roles of others. And when things don't go their way, they get angry and quit.
- They have little self-control
They do not manage to regulate their impulses: they are very curious, invasive, they take the things of others without permission and can ruin them. Sometimes they show annoying behaviors such as singing and making noises and even in the face of the annoyance of their peers they cannot regulate themselves.
- They accuse or defraud
In order to 'look good' or to attract attention, they accuse their colleagues or defraud their trust by telling a secret. This, far from helping them, generates antipathy, estrangement and loss of trust from others.
- They have a bad habit
Many times they are not aware of some behaviors that generate rejection in others such as: eating with an open mouth, continuously putting fingers in the nose, sucking on clothes, etc.
- They show little empathy and sensitivity
They can become mocking when faced with a situation that overwhelms another colleague, not very understanding of situations that do not involve them directly, or unwise by making a too frank or rude comment that others obviously do not welcome.
- They are naturally introverted and have trouble communicating
They are children who show shyness and insecurity. Many times they prefer not to give their opinion or say what they feel for fear of being judged and they also fail to take the initiative to join a group as they would like.
How then can we help our children discover what is happening and improve their social relationships?
1. Organize activities for our children and their friends
One of the best ideas is to encourage our child to invite one or two companions to the house or for a walk (although it may be a bit forced at the beginning) and observe the dynamics that occur between them to discover, if possible, what is happens. If it is not evident that there is an evident negative attitude from our son, it will still be a good opportunity to strengthen ties with a partner in an easier and safer context for him.
2. Get closer to the parents of your friends
On many occasions, we must approach the parents of the other children and socialize with them so that it is more natural to promote these encounters. There are parents who many times for work reasons, stay away from what happens at school and do not make attempts to connect with other parents. This may unknowingly be depriving your children of opportunities to socialize in other settings.
3. Talk to our children about their behavior
On one occasion a concerned mother came to my office looking for an explanation of why her son could not integrate with his peers and far from that, he was rejected by them, and they could not discover the cause. Once i met your son I noticed that I was constantly coughing from allergies, but was doing it carelessly without covering his mouth. That is the explanation for the rejection. Once we gave him strategies to do it carefully and explained why he was bothering others, little by little he managed to integrate.
Probably, if she had had the opportunity to invite a companion to her house or to go out in a group with the other moms and their children, she would have discovered the problem much quicker and it would have been possible to act before it got bigger.
If we can detect patterns in our children that may be negatively impacting their social relationships, we must be clear, explain why this behavior alienates others and help them change it.
4. Model by example
If we as parents do not socialize and always stay out of activities and social events, it will be difficult for our child to act differently. Example teaches our children.
5. Work on emotional intelligence skills through stories and movies
Reading stories and watching movies with our children encouraging reflection on values and social skills such as assertiveness, empathy and sensitivity towards the other, is a very simple way to help them develop them.
6. Go to school
Talking with teachers or psychologists to ask for support in discovering what may be happening on a social level and in supporting our child to overcome it can be of great help.
7. Seek professional help
In those cases in which it is not easy to discover the reason why our children cannot make friends, or that our techniques have not worked, it is necessary to consult with a specialist who can help you develop strategies that allow you to enjoy the social area that it is a vital part of their integral development.
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