Ways to help your child go through a friendship breakup
This is one of the very difficult moments our kids will have to endure . As children are learning their way in life and developing their personalities, they become attach to friendships, they treasure them and if for some reason these end, it can really take a toll on their self-steem and their sense of self. As parents, we must try our best to stay attuned to our children’s emotions, notice when there is a change in their mood or behaviour. “Negative” behaviour(there really isnt “negative” behaviour our children are merely trying to show a feeling, thought or concern they are feeling but are learning to express it in a health way) may be an indicator that our children are going through a difficult time and we have to be ready to listen and assist them without judgement.
Get to know your children’s friends
Inviting them to lunch or dinner is the perfect way to learn what kinds of friends are in your child’s circle. When you have a good relationship with your kid’s friends, it will make your child more confident talking to you about them and their relationship with them. If an issue arises, you’ll be able to support your child and reinforce your bond. You need to know your child’s friendship group to be able to support him or her navigate any possible breakdown.
Stay away from judgement
Recently, I heard that a couple mistakenly accessed the facebook page of their daughter. The kid, 13, had forgotten to log out. They were shocked to see their daughter, otherwise sincere and compliant, displaying animosity to her father, teachers and siblings.
The initial response of parents was a tragedy. They reprehended her, they judged her. Finally only when the daughter stopped talking, the parents understood that the problem was getting out of their hands and had to opt for her to see a psychiatrist. From the above experience please follow the bellow tips;
- Avoid being judgemental towards your children, even if their acting hostile.
- Go for a gentle and understanding approach.
- Listen! Listen! Listen! Do not make assumptions to many of the facts.
Provide information of what friendships are all about
Friendships can be temporary and it may weaken or break all together over time. Have your child understand if a friend walks away, eventually another one will come and they may get along even more. Tell your child to welcome new friends, to be his or her wonderful self and to be patient as the right people for them will come along.
It is also a good idea to share your own friendship experiences with your child so he or she can relate and see how you have gone through breakups like these too and come out fine in the end. Talk about that friend you once had, who is no longer with you but how that experience brought you to meet another wonderful friend.
Show them how to practice open minded thinking
Teach your children that there is not only one wrong or right answer but that everybody has their own opinion which should be respected. Thinking this way will aid them to see how their friends may have different perspectives and that it is okay. A way to teach them to be open minded is by practising it yourself first. Make the effort to no judge and show empathy and understanding towards others. If your children see you acting this way, it will come familiar to them and they will use it in their daily life. Children model us all the time, they are watching us constantly so it is important that if we want to educate them a certain way then we must practice it ourselves first.
Points to Remember
- In reality parents are not able to solve all of the problems a child faces but taking interest in their daily behaviour and mood can definitely give them an idea on how to assist them.
- Listen to your children. At the dinner table or when you are tucking them in bed ask them how their feeling, how did they feel through out the day and guide them through those emotions. Do not judge them, do not try to fix their problems(unless it something very serious) but just listen and make them feel that you understand where they are coming from and how you can relate to their emotions. This is the only way our children will learn to trust us and understand that no matter what happens in life mom and dad will always be there for them.
- Children are still developing their understanding the ways of the world, they are still learning about how to eat healthy, hygiene, or how to act in certain situations so please ensure that every time your child does something out of line of the ways of appropriate behaviour, understand that they are in the progress of learning and that it is important that we explain in detail why we request something from them and how it be beneficial to them or others. Please take the time to do this if we want our children to be wise and know the reasons they act a certain way.
- Where appropriate share your own experiences with your children, show them how sometimes if even things do not go the way we want them to, an even better outcome comes out of the disappointment.
- As a parent, you must always be a supporter and always willing to help your child to make new friends.
- Be an example of empathy and non judgement to your children so they practice it in their life also.
- Lastly, remind your child every day that you love them just the way they are and that he/she will make the friends that love and appreciate them just as they are.
I hope the above will assist you in being a support when your children go through the breakup of a friendship. It will be a hard time not just for them but for you as well. So be patient, do not judge them or yourself, focus on connecting with your child when they are hurting and make them feel you are there for them, that is really the best way we can help our children. You are doing an amazing job no matter the level that you are at.