When Friends Turn Against Friends

When children first begin to socialize, their relationships are pretty straightforward and the arguments tend to be innocent. Most of the time, a simple “I’m sorry” will put an end to the any hardships encountered. As the years go by and children get older, the disagreements between them can become more complex and the situations harder to deal with. How you help your child cope with such difficulties can set the tone for how your child handles conflict throughout his or her childhood, and even into adulthood.

The first time your son or daughter comes home in tears due to a conflict with a playmate can be heartbreaking. After all, we want to protect our children from the painful situations life may throw at them. Unfortunately, that’s just not possible. One day your child may have to deal with the experience of having one or more friends turn against her – after all, children can be unreasonable and sometimes cruel. If this happens, it’s essential that you help your child cope with the situation and teach her to overcome it.

If your son or daughter does happen to be at the receiving end of childhood ridicule and abuse, the first thing you need to do is sit down with him or her and explain that it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the friendship and it’s definitely not the end of the world. Ask your child what the cause of the conflict is. If it’s something your child did wrong, encourage them to apologize for their actions. An apology tends to go a long way as far as children are concerned. If it’s something the other child or children have done wrong, encourage your child to stand his ground. Sticking up for one’s principles may not be an easy thing to do, but learning to do so at a young age will make doing so much easier as an adult.

If your child really doesn’t have any idea as to what initiated the conflict, suggest straightforward communication. Oftentimes conflict is the result of miscommunication or misunderstanding. If your child asks his or her friends why they’re mad, they may be able to take steps to resolve the situation.

If there really is no basis for the argument and the other children are being stubborn and even downright unreasonable, encourage your child to make new friends. The friends a child has will have an impact on who he or she becomes as an adult and your child may be better off making more agreeable friends in the long run.

Going through and resolving these situations helps teach your child that there are ways to work out problems, even if it’s not evident at the start. Help your child gain all the tools he needs to thrive in the world.