All parents like to think that they really understand their children, and will hopefully have the answer to any problems that may arise. However, we don’t always get it right all the time and we are only human after all! From tussles in the playground and classroom to worrying about not being the fastest runner or the best violinist, children have a lot of pressure on them and this can affect their friendships dramatically. Because of their age, issues that as adults we can simply put down to experience can become enormous for a young child, and it can be hard to keep up with all the comings and goings of your child’s friendships. Have a go at our quiz and see if you have got a handle on what’s bothering your child and their friendships…answers are at the bottom!
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1. Your child wants to invite a friend back for tea after school.
You have been at work all day and this wasn’t planned. Do you:
a. Suggest another day-when you haven’t been quite so busy b. Say no because you don’t think the child is a suitable friend c. Say yes
2. You notice your child and two other friends playing in the playground and one child seems to be left out.
a. Suggest to your child that they include the other child in the game b. Ignore it – you are not that keen on that particular child anyway c. Go over and intervene and insist that they let the other child join in
3. It’s time to sign your child up for after school clubs and activities. He/she wants to try tennis and art club.
To do both will be quite costly and you have a feeling that they just want to do it because their friend is. Do you:
a. Suggest that your child chooses one activity and explain how expensive it is to do both b. Say no to both – you really can’t afford it and most of the children who go are unsuitable anyway c. Agree to both
4. Your child has been invited to two parties on the same day but at different times
They are friends with both children but it’s going to be tricky for them to go to both. Do you:
a. Explain that because they are both almost at the same time, it’s going to be difficult to do both and suggest that one of the friends come for tea after school instead b. Say they can choose one or none at all c. Make a supreme effort to get your child to attend both parties-come hell or high water!
5. Your child comes home from school with a letter to say they have been involved in an incident in the playground.
Further investigation reveals they have fallen out with their best friend because she said something nasty to your child. Do you:
a. Talk to your child and try and find out exactly what has happened. Talk to their teacher in the morning and then leave it be. b. Tell your child off and suggest they have nothing more to do with the other children c. Contact all the parents of the children involved, find out exactly what has happened and apologise – even if your child wasn’t entirely to blame.
If you have answered mostly As to the questions you are demonstrating that you are trying hard to support your child with their friendship issues and encourage them to have a wide variety of friends. You are keen for them to be popular and well liked, but also recognise that sometimes you have to take a back seat and let them find their own way through problems. You take time to make suggestions to your child and encourage them to try and resolve problems without hurting other children.
If you have answered mostly Bs to the questions then you need to ask yourself some serious questions. Do you actually want your child to have any friends? It seems that your child’s friendships are inconvenient and get in the way of other areas of your life. Be very careful, you may find that if you continue with this style of parenting your child will either rebel and become difficult or be a victim of some playground bullying. Children need to have friends and it is important for parents to encourage this.
Wow! You must be exhausted! It seems you will stop at nothing to make sure that you child has as many friends as possible! Being encouraging and accepting of your child’s friendships is one thing – but two parties in one afternoon is madness! Being enthusiastic is great, but pushy parenting is never a good idea and could backfire eventually. Calm down, slow down and stop worrying that your child will lose a friend just because you don’t bend over backwards to accommodate them.