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Handling Friendship Problems at Primary School

By: Sarah Edwards - Updated: 11 Feb 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Handling Friendship Problems At Primary School

When our children start school they are still very young and very used to having plenty of attention from their parents and possibly their siblings too. It is also possible that you have been taking them to toddler, pre school, nursery and other groups to help them socialise.

A New Experience and New Friends

Primary schools all offer new children the chance to come and look round and spend some time at their new school before they start, as a way of helping them to acclimatise to their new experience.

Early Friendships

It is possible that your child will have made some friends at pre school and therefore will be lucky enough to ‘go up’ to big school with some familiar faces. However, if this is not the case then they may feel a little nervous about all these new children that they are spending several hours a day with!

Pushy Parents!

It is really important not to push your child into making friends with other children. Many children are naturally gregarious and sociable, and are blessed with enough confidence to help them during those early days at their new school. However, others may feel lonely and shy and struggle to bond with any of their peers.

Playtime

Whilst encouraging your child to include themselves in play and things like after school groups is a positive move, it is not wise to pressure your child into making friends with other children as they will naturally find their own way.

Friendship Groups

Even when your child has established a friendship or friendship group, there will be the inevitable spats between children-both at school and after school and this is just part of growing up and part of school life.

Disputes and Arguments

It is very easy and totally understandable for parents to want to get involved in disputes and arguments between their children and their friends, but it rarely helps if a parent wades in with a heavy handed approach to the situation. Most conflicts can be resolved with a reasoned discussion, and conflict handling and resolution are important life skills for a child to develop.

Protecting Your Child

In the case of extreme friendship issues such as emotional or physical bullying then different approaches have to be employed. In these cases it is always best to talk to the school first-particularly if the problem is happening during school time. Again, it is the natural response of any parent to want to protect their child from such a situation, and this is exactly what you should do-but in a controlled and carefully thought out manner.

Important life skills

It is easy to get extremely upset about your child’s friendship problems, and we all want our children to be happy and safe-especially when they are away from us and at school. However, throughout their school life whether they are in year one or year six, your child will always encounter problems and difficulties with their friends and it is good for them to learn about how to cope with these situations as they arise.

Although it is important to support them, you must also let them try and find their own way. By teaching them to be able to talk to their friends and understand why people can get upset, you will be equipping your child to be able to cope with conflict and understand why sometimes our friends behave out of character and the ways in which they can overcome these moments in their lives.

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[Add a Comment]
My 9 year old son has a 'girlfriend's at school which I fully support to gain that emotional experience but the school have decided to reprimand him and his 'girlfriend' by keeping them in at break and denying them swapping Valentine's gifts so they are seen not to promote this! Is this right?
Deeg0303 - 11-Feb-19 @ 1:47 PM
Jo - Your Question:
My son is 6 and in year 1. He is a very popular boy but he struggles to be friends with more than one person. His is very loyal to that person but expects the same back, to the point that on more than one occasion the friendship has become overbearing for the other child and he ends up pushing his pal away. This is happening once again and my son is now struggling to concentrate and becoming anxious at school, he is crying a lot and feels no one likes him. He doesn’t seem to understand you can be friends with lots of people and he feels betrayed when his best buddy play with others. I’m a lost of how to help him or where to go for advice. Thanks

Our Response:
Ask his teacher for advice on how he/she tackles this within school - they have training on child behaviour and friendship forming etc.
KidsBehaviour - 26-Mar-18 @ 11:26 AM
My son is 6 and in year 1. He is a very popular boy but he struggles to be friends with more than one person. His is very loyal to that person but expects the same back, to the point that on more than one occasion the friendship has become overbearing for the other child and he ends up pushing his pal away. This is happening once again and my son is now struggling to concentrate and becoming anxious at school, he is crying a lot and feels no one likes him. He doesn’t seem to understand you can be friends with lots of people and he feels betrayed when his best buddy play with others. I’m a lost of how to help him or where to go for advice. Thanks
Jo - 23-Mar-18 @ 4:32 PM
Sez- Your Question:
My daughter is 5 is very friendly with everyone in her class and has made some good friends boys and girls. One girl in particular has been quite bossy and has physically pushed my daughter over twice - me and the mum who I thought was really nice has stopped replying to my texts about play dates etc ,I recently had to speak to her teacher about the fact this other child is making my daughter uncomfortable and has made it clear she’s jealous of her being friends with everyone - my daughter just lets it go over her head says it makes her feel sad that she’s being mean ! How do I handle the situation as she’s been asked to this child’s party my daughter doesn’t want to go and the child and mum won’t except it. I’m not happy

Our Response:
Unfortunately there is not much you can do about this other than reaffirming to your own child that this is not the way to behave and that she is doing the right thing by being kind to everyone etc. If the girl's behaviour turns into bullying of course report this back to the school. If your daughter doesn't want to go to the party there's no point in forcing her, but if other friends are going too, it's worth telling her that she might enjoy it etc.
KidsBehaviour - 19-Mar-18 @ 11:01 AM
My daughter is 5 is very friendly with everyone in her class and has made some good friends boys and girls . One girl in particular has been quite bossy and has physically pushed my daughter over twice - me and the mum who I thought was really nice has stopped replying to my texts about play dates etc ,I recently had to speak to her teacher about the fact this other child is making my daughter uncomfortable and has made it clear she’s jealous of her being friends with everyone - my daughter just lets it go over her head says it makes her feel sad that she’s being mean ! How do I handle the situation as she’s been asked to this child’s party my daughter doesn’t want to go and the child and mum won’t except it . I’m not happy
Sez - 16-Mar-18 @ 10:48 AM
I come across many articles on teenagers about this sort of thing but very few on pre-teen. I believe that period is just as scary and almost more difficult than teen years and it is largely ignored by parenting literature as far as I can see. My daughter is 11 and starting to change but without any of the tools which even a couple of years age difference gives. She is struggling badly with friendship issues as she is the oldest in her class and even that few months difference is now telling as she is more grown up than her peers who still want to play make believe games. More needs to be written about the pre-teen group as parenting in this age group in my opinion is almost if not as bad as parenting in teen years.
Crofter - 29-Jan-12 @ 2:57 PM
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