Children are naturally friendly, and they love making friends. It is a sight to see children laughing their hearts out at the playground. As a teacher, I observe often my students enjoy talking about their playmates, a healthy sign of early social development. From experience, if your child isn’t making friends, it’s a worrying sign, I encourage you to read further for strategies that will help your child engage other children.
What to do when your child has no friends? As a parent, you should take the responsibility of teaching your child the necessary skills in establishing relationships with other children. To do so, you have to know your child well, so you can help on this matter. In addition, you must be aware of various strategies to help your child improve his social skills to build lasting friendships.
Be observant as to how your child mingle with other children, because this plays a significant role in the development of your child’s life-long social skills. The strategies below will guide you as you accompany your child in forging friendships. To help you find results effectively, I’ll discuss a particular strategy to help your child become sociable and make friends. This strategy has 6 parts:
- Know your child
- Listen to your child
- Be a friendly coach
- Do not overreact and don’t be too protective
- Expose your child
- Ask for professional help
1) Know your child
Knowing your child means having meaningful conversations with him that will allow you to know the reason why he says “I have no friends” or when he simply does not want to play with other children. Know if your child can easily form friendships with his peers. You must be aware of your child’s behavior if he’s approachable or withdrawn.
When you know his personality, you can better help him establish or sustain his peer relationships. Just like when you know that your child is a shy type, you must engage him more socially so he’ll overcome it. On the other hand, if your child is assertive, you must advise him to keep his cool all the time.
Another way to know your child is to ask around with his siblings, teachers, or relatives whom he often interacts with. These people are also the ones who know your child, and their observations will help you in identifying the other behaviors of your child. The bottom line is that you have to know your child from different angles
2) Listen to your child
Your child will definitely feel bad when nobody approaches him in school or his friends are refusing to include him in their games. When this happens, you have to talk with your child and listen to what he has to say. This way, you get to know the circumstances, and from here, you should help your child handle the situation intelligently.
It’s typical for children to have conflicts, and these are part of their childhood years. At this stage, you should always be a listening ear so you can make him see the rules of the game in making friends.
In most instances, children simply need to be listened to and a hug after a rough day could comfort them. If a child has a comforting home, he won’t have a lasting hurtful feeling inside him. With this, he won’t get tired of trying to make friends with his peers.
3) Be a friendly coach
After knowing your child and listening to his thoughts and desires, you can already be his friendly coach. As a parent, you have the best position to help your child to be sociable. Since you understand him, you can coach him on how to get along well with other children. Grab every opportunity where you can inject the value of friendship. Advise your child to always ask permission for this will make him do the same when he is with his friends. Your child will learn how to respect his playmates, and this can prevent having conflicts with them.
In coaching your child, you can have role-playing where you’ll provide scenarios that promote having a healthy relationship with peers. You can also spend meaningful conversations to talk about his friends in school and how should he manage to keep his friendships not to those who are popular but to those whom he really like as friends.
To coach your child effectively, you have to model good behavior at all times. You can do this by having a nice and polite approach when you relate with people. Whether you are at the park, in a grocery store, at a party, or when you are driving, you have to show your child the right social behavior.
4) Do not overreact and don’t be too protective
Though children make friends naturally, don’t overreact when your child does not know how to fit in yet. Don’t expect your child to be the most friendly member of the class. Don’t pressure him to mingle with all of his classmates. Remember, your reaction can impact your child’s self-confidence.
In case your child commented that a particular child in school does not like him or they had a conflict, do not step in right away. When you meddle in the situation, this might even distant your child from the other children. Being overprotective may make your child reluctant from sharing his concerns with you, as he might fear seeing your strong emotions each time.
However, this does not mean that you would care less about your child’s conflict. It’s just that you have to keep the right distance for your child to have healthy emotional and social development. Caution yourself not to be overly protective for it may mean you are overacting.
5) Expose your child
You can empower your child to make friends by setting the right environment for him. You can ask the parents in your neighborhood to meet every weekend for your children to have playtime with other children. Parks and other recreation centers for children can also be learning spaces for your child to develop his social skills.
Another option is by inviting the children of your relatives and friends with the same age group as your child to come over during the weekend. This activity will serve as an opportunity for your child to welcome other children and be extra gracious to his visitors. This will teach your child how to compromise what he wants to what his visitors want.
It will help if you encourage your child to join social skills programs that are available in your area. You may also look for a playgroup where your child can practice those social skills with your supervision. During this time, you can right away affirm good behavior and correct his misbehaviors if you spot one.
6) Ask for professional help
When your child cannot make friends, and you see that the situation is already alarming, you should seek experts. What is important in this situation is that you recognize that your child needs special attention to be able to develop healthily.
Once you find your child really having difficulty in relating with fellow children, you can have him undergo a program handled by a professional to ensure the normal development of his social and emotional skills. The designed program will help address what your child needs.
It’s a different case if your child is already being bullied, and this makes him afraid of relating to other children already. If this happens, there’s also the need to seek help from professional within the school. You can ask teachers for initial monitoring and measures.
As a parent, you always want your child to reach his highest potential. This will naturally happen when you direct your child to develop holistically. Focusing on guiding your child through his social development is important. With the strategies laid out in this article, you can begin helping your child make healthy relationships with others. Remember, parents are role models, and the best people to demonstrate the value of friendship and the necessary skills to have a lasting one.
What are the reasons why children don’t make friends? One of the reasons why children do not make friends is that they have social difficulties. At a young age, they haven’t fully gained the skill on how to start and keep conversations going. Another reason is when they are anxious and shy-type.
What’s the effect of having no friends among children? Childhood peer relationships can impact the psychological development of an individual. The presence of psychological difficulties and their degree can affect the holistic development of a child. A child with no friends can have poor self-esteem and low social competencies.