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What to Do When Your Child Loses Friends

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Authored by Ceetee Sheckels in Parenting 
Published on 01-12-2010

Every parent wants his child to be happy. A big part of a child’s happiness is being popular, and having friends. Whether your child is a toddler or a teen, losing friends can be a traumatic experience. You want to make this experience as easy for him as possible. Above all, you do not want to risk saying the wrong thing and making him feel worse.

A good start is to acknowledge how he feels, and acknowledge his feelings as valid. If you make the mistake of trying to brush it off, such as telling him that he will acquire new friends, he will not feel that what he is going through is important to you. It can also give him the idea that friendship is not very serious. Instead, encouraging him to share his feelings with you will let him know that you care about what he is experiencing.

When your child loses friends, it is only natural for him to be sad. He may also be angry, confused, or depressed. Instead of pressing him to cheer up, he should be encouraged to vent and get it all out into the open. Even if he seems to be a little extreme, it is considerably better than pretending that he is fine when he is not. If his depression is too severe or long-lasting, it would be a good idea to consult his doctor for advice.

If your child loses friends due to arguments between the children, it is best to not assign blame in either direction. Unless his friend has done something that is truly harmful, it is better to not tell your child that it was all his friend’s fault.

While you should allow your child a reasonable amount of time and space so it does not seem as if you are trying to replace the friend he lost, other children should eventually be introduced into his life. A good way to go about this is to gently urge him to participate in activities he enjoys which include other children. This will give him the opportunity to have fun, while meeting new potential friends at the same time. In this type of atmosphere, it is likely that he will find new friendships blossoming without any extra effort, from activities and interests that they have in common.

Making friends is a learning and growing experience. Unfortunately, losing friends is a learning and growing experience as well. It is something which your child will go through many times throughout his lifetime. When he learns how to deal with it successfully during his early years, he will be better prepared to deal with similar situations in his adult life. Although losing friends is difficult for anyone, it does not need to be devastating. When he is equipped to deal with it and move on to new friends, it will help him to see friendship for the positive experience it is, rather than as a potential loss. He will see every friend and every friendship as a treasure.

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