I don’t know where I would be without my friend Cassie. She appeared in my life at a time when I was at my lowest and I am very thankful that she is in my life. Our friendship is a very special one, as you could not find two people more in sync. There are times she will say exactly what I am thinking. I would be lost without her.
Friendship is also very important for our children too. Not only to provide them with a pal to play with but it is also an integral part of your child’s development. Friendships will help your child develop his social skills; problem solving abilities and research has discovered that children who do not develop friendships can suffer from depression and other emotional problems as adults.
Of course not all children have the ability to make friends easily and we as parents may need to give a helping hand in that department. My daughter is one of those children. She has an autism spectrum disorder which makes it difficult for her to have normal social interactions with other children. For some children on the spectrum the desire to form friendships is not all that important and they are perfectly happy to be loners. My daughter however very much wanted to make friends; but because of her inability to interpret what others were thinking and feeling she sometimes acted inappropriately towards her peers which made it difficult to connect with them.
Some parents may be totally unaware that their children are having difficulties making friends and think that all is well. If you rarely see your child interacting with other children it may be time to play detective and see if there are any problems in that area. Your child’s teacher may be a good place to start and he or she may be able to give you insight on how your child is with other children. It is also a good idea to watch how your child behaves with other children and you can ask the school if you can visit the classroom as a volunteer to witness for yourself how your child behaves around other children and more importantly how your child is treated by the other children.
Children can have problems making friends with their peers for many reasons. They may be shy and lack self-confidence around the other children. Other children can be cruel sometimes and ignore or tease a child that lacks self-esteem. Another reason may be that your child behaves in an inappropriate way around other children such as being too loud and bossy or isn’t willing to take turns or follow the rules when playing games.
If you are concerned that your child may be having problems making friends it is good to keep in mind that not all children are the same and some children are extremely popular and have many friends while other children are perfectly happy with one good friend. On the other hand if you notice that your child seems to be having problems making even one friend it may be time to step in. Ask your child how he feels about the friends he has at school or if he is having problems making friends and feels lonely. Your child may not volunteer this information but if you show that you are interested and ask questions you may be able to discover whether there is a reason for concern.
Finally there is a lot that you can do as a parent to help your child with his friendship concerns. Sometimes it is just a matter of having him work on his social skills. You may be able to find programs specifically targeted to help build social skills in children either within the school or elsewhere. Your child’s teacher may be a place to start. If your child is having problems making friends because of lack of self-esteem you can help with that also. Have a talk with your child and ask how he feels about himself and if you are concerned that there is a serious problem it may be time to talk to a professional.
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