Childhood friendship drama can be upsetting for the child and the parents, especially the first time it happens. And unfortunately, it isn’t a matter of if, but when. It is tricky for parents to know how to help their child, but if you’re prepared for it it’s definitely easier. Here is what parents need to know about handling childhood friendship drama.
What Is Childhood Friendship Drama?
Unfortunately, children are not exempt from friendship drama. And if your child is allowed to access social media too early, friendship drama can be even more of a problem. Before you realize it, your child can encounter unwritten rules about who can talk to who, which boys like which girls and vice-versa, and even more blatant bullying. Even toddlers can experience play date drama–but we have tips to help you handle that too.
How To Handle Childhood Friendship Drama
- The most important thing to do for your child is to listen. When they come home having experienced some form of friendship drama, listen without any judgment or interruption.
- Let your child know that you understand why they feel bad. Make sure your child feels validated in their concerns.
- Once you have really listened, ask your child any questions you need to in order to fully understand what happened. Use phrases like, “What happened next?” and “How did that make you feel inside?”
- Do not jump in with your advice or go running to the school to complain. Don’t pick up the phone to handle the situation with the other child’s parents.
- Ask your child what he or she would like for you to do to help. You can say, “What would you like from me?” or “Do you want my opinion?”
- It’s always good to sit and work with your child on a solution that your child feels good about. Role play some scenarios to help your child feel confident. Don’t just tell your child what to do.
How To Keep Up With Your Child’s Friendships
- Always give your child a chance to tell you about their day and what things they experienced.
- Take every opportunity to talk about good friendships, and what your child should look for in a true friend.
- Don’t ever force your child to stay in a friendship that clearly isn’t working out, but don’t make him change friends if things can be worked out through good communication.
- Invite your child to have friends over often, and take the opportunity to be present. Know your child’s friends!
Childhood friendship drama is going to happen, but you can help your child learn to navigate it successfully and be the best friend they can possibly be. As your child grows to adulthood, they’ll have a good understanding of how to successfully interact with others. And that’s a valuable skill!
Resource: Imperfect Families