Teaching Your Child Friendship Skills

It's painful if your child is struggling with friendships. Your child might be shy and easily ignored by other kids, overly sensitive, intimidating other children, or be the vulnerable child who is continually being picked on. What can you do to help your child develop the skills needed to make good friends?

Many of the rules of friendship are unwritten and some kids catch on to those rules while others do not. In their book The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends, Elman and Kennedy-Moore define the characteristics of 10 types of children who often have problems with friendships. They describe the typical behaviors that these kids exhibit that turn their peers off. They then list the unwritten friendship rules that this type of child is missing and how you can help your child develop those skills.

Some of the unwritten rules include things like:
  • There is no such thing as a perfect friend.
  • If you hit someone, odds are they'll hit you back harder.
  • Dwelling on bad feelings makes them worse.
  • When someone says "Stop", stop.
  • Staying out of harm's way is wise.
  • You don't have to stay around people who are unkind to you.
The book provides excellent ideas for guiding your child to learning these rules. If your child is struggling with friends, this book may hold the key to helping your child figure out how to successfully navigate friendships.

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