Friendship has been a tricky issue for one of my children, which has found me really exploring the concept of friendship quite deeply over the last few years.
The reality is, kids need to feel connected, to feel part of a group, to feel loved. But it doesn’t always work out this way. We assume friendship comes naturally to kids. But it isn’t always the case.
Studies show that children who have friends are more likely to be self-conﬁdent and perform better academically at school than those without friends. It’s also a determining factor in the future happiness of our children. When children have difﬁculty making friends or keeping them, it often leads to feelings of loneliness and unhappiness. Regular rejection isn’t easy. Just ask any actor!
Teaching my kids about friendship has sometimes been painful for me. Things haven’t always gone smoothly for them, and they have often felt lost and empty. It can break a parent’s heart.
It’s very confusing for children who try to figure out why they aren’t fitting in. And as a parent it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to find the answer, but from experience, you can search till the cows come home, but there may not be any concrete reasons.
So what can we do as parents when our children asks us:
What have I done so that others don’t like me?
Why does ‘so and so’ always get up and move when I sit next them?
Why am I always picked last for the team?
Why aren’t I invited over to anyone’s place?
These can be tough questions to answer but guiding our children on some skills like empathy, problem-solving, negotiating, cooperation and communication can definitely help them socially, but I believe it’s important not to focus on what they may be “doing wrong” but rather guide them towards believing in themselves and celebrating who they are. Help them to understand the differences which exist between all humans and that while everyone wants to “fit”, sometimes it can take time to find even one true friend.
Let your children know that the world is full of thousands of people and that one day they will find a friend who-
- loves them for who they are
- connects with their soul
- brings out the best in them
- unconditionally accepts them for who they are
- laughs at all their jokes (good and bad!)
- forgives them when they let them down
- shares their dreams and beliefs
- sticks up for them
- trusts them with their secrets and feelings
- makes them feel like an equal
- and loves being around the light that they shine out into the world and which they should never, ever try to dim as thats what makes them special,wonderful and loveable
I am personally blessed with some of the best friends a girl could have. No matter how much time passes, or how infrequently we get to connect in this busy life, whatever I may be going through, they make me feel special, important, always welcome, and always loved. These same relationships have their highs and lows and can be painful at times, that’s life, but ultimately they are steadfast and true.
I take faith in knowing that one day this will happen for my kids too.
Have your children had issues with fitting in? How have you chosen to address it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.