Part 2 of Friendships 101

I believe that you, as a parent, can employ some principles that can provide a ballast for your child—and yourself to navigate these turbulent waters of friendships.

  • Remember that you’ve already made it through your school-age years.  When your child is in pain, it will often trigger the very same pain you experienced when you were the same age.  Being left out or rejected can take us back so quickly that it can be hard to know if the pain we feel is really about our children—or about us.  Be aware of what’s stirring inside you, as Melissa Trevathan talks about so beautifully in our DVD Curriculum, Raising Boys and Girls.   You can be empathetic and compassion to their feelings, but remember they are most importantly that—their feelings.
  • Remember that children are learning what being a friend means.  They won’t immediately know what a kind response looks like, how to be inclusive, or what it means to forgive...
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Friendship 101: Helping Our Kids Navigate the Ups and Downs of Childhood Companionship

She wore hi-top converse tennis shoes that were green on one side and red and white striped on the other.  And not just at Christmas time.  As a matter of fact, this 2nd grader named Bailey wore the same pair of tennis shoes every week for our counseling sessions.  Her mom brought her in to see me because Bailey was showing some signs of anxiety.  She was often teary at bedtime.  She had frequent stomachaches.  She would pepper her mom with questions every time she left the house, “Where are you going?  When will you be home?  Who are you going with?  What will you be doing?  WHEN will you be home?”  Her mom had rightfully become worried and wanted help.

As Bailey and I talked, I started to understand the root of her anxiety.  You may have guessed it:  friends.  Bailey didn’t feel like she fit in.  She described herself as “different”, and even “weird.”  The girls Bailey wanted to be friends with didn’t seem to want to be friends with her.  And Bailey was struggling...

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