Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ask Dr. Dana: My child’s best friend dumped her. She is heartbroken, what can I do?

Most parents can relate. Your child comes home, sullen and slumped over. “Sarah doesn’t want to hang out with me anymore; she only wants to be with Lia!”

When this happens your heart will break right along with your child’s. It is very important to remain calm and not add your anger and hurt to your child’s. Chances are this is a bump in the road instead of a long-term break up. Below are some things you can do to help your child bounce back quickly.

• Your role is to listen and empathize with your kid’s feelings

• Help your child come up with his/her own game plan for situations that may be hurtful (i.e., lunch, recess, etc.) Even if you don’t like the plan, your child will be more confident if he/she comes up with their own.

• A common reason for friendship-dumping is when one child becomes too dependent on another child, making the friendship feel burdensome. If this applies, help your child to branch out and make new friends.

Most importantly, remember that over the course of a friendship your child will inevitably face conflict. As in adulthood, overcoming conflicts can make relationships even stronger. Directly dealing with conflict is a difficult but critical skill, for both children and adults.

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