Some hurdles of growing up can be truly heart-breaking and painful especially in the tender and confusing pre-teen and teen years. Children are struggling with changes in their bodies, hormones and brain, and to add to all these changes any upheavals in their peer groups can be truly devastating.
However, changing values, changing focus, changing priorities, changing interests as children grow into developing their individual identities can create a change in your child’s social groups. You might as a parent have already dealt with or might deal with a bucket of tears when one day your child comes homes declaring that her/his best friend is no longer a friend or he/she is no longer a part of the group and has been abandoned.
This can be an emotionally draining time in your child’s life because friends and peer groups are very important to them as these groups are what helps them create their own identities and when such ‘break ups’ occur it can mean a blow to their own identity. Your child can feel lost and extremely lonely.
As a parent you can feel at a loss on how to handle this, and this is why a mother of a 12 year old girl called me to ask: How as a parent can I help my daughter who is having problems with her ‘group’?
Please click on the photo below to watch the video and hear what I shared:
1) This mother was already being proactive and encouraged her daughter to widen her circle of friends so that she did not depend on just one or two children. More friends meant she need not feel lonely and left out.
2) Explain to your child that this is a part of life and growing up and friends move on due to various reason like changing priorities, interests and values.
3) These feelings of disappointment and heart-break have a lot of learning for your children, so support them but allow them to go through this phase and emotions so that they grow into mature and resilient young adults.
4) There is no need to focus your child’s attention on a daily basis on what happened in the group. Let go of the subject and issue. Once you make it a non-issue the child will also realize the same.
5) Model to your child by sharing your own stories of your own friendships – new and old friends, how you have some old friends but you had to let go of others or they let go of you due to various reasons. Model to your child that this happens to everyone and it is an opportunity for them to get to know more children.
Try the above strategies and tell me how your child responded.
Keep smiling and shining your light!
Youth & Family Life Coach
Athena Life Coaching