My Kid Does Not Have Friends, How Can I Help?
Not all kids are interactive and sociable by nature. Not every kid wants to be the leader or the person to take the first step, make the first move. These kids prefer the comfort of their shell. My friends who are parents, even the introverted ones, worry about their kids social standing and ability to mingle. I was at a friend’s son 1 year old birthday party last week, and it seemed like half the population of SG50 babies were invited. My sanity was salvaged by the cooler box filled with beer, which was where I hung out for the rest of the afternoon, observing the pandemonium.
Robin noticed I felt out of place and came by to accompany me. We stood side by side studying the children’s behavior: Some dominated the play area, others were happy to take the left over toys, and a couple of children were sitting far away from everyone, refusing to participate.
“That kid doesn’t seem to play well with others. Is that normal?” I asked.
“It depends. There are many reasons for a child to be anti-social. Sometimes it’s just their nature or a phase, but sometimes it could be more than that.”
“Ok,” I said. “I’ve got all the time in the world. Why don’t you tell me a few signs that parents can look out for when they have an anti-social child and how they can help their child open up?”
And this was what I learned:
First of all, see if everything is ok in the family. If the parents are having problems or there are some other family issues, the kid defensive reaction is to stay away from everything.
Secondly, be a great example for the kid. If you have good friends, introduce them to your kid. Show him what the real friendship is; show him how to treat people and how friends treat each other. Regardless of the age of the kid, he will see what a friendship can bring to someone’s life.
Kids sometimes tend to be shy while they interact in kindergarten or school. A good way to help your kid make new friends is to throw parties at home. Invite the other children and their parents over for the afternoon, quite like what is happening right now. The child may not interact with other kids immediately, but such engagements will help break the ice over time. Some kids just take longer to warm up to people. Maybe when the kids are in their home ground they will become more easygoing and friendlier to others.
Many parents believe that the atmosphere in school is enough for a child to make friends. This is not true in all cases. Try signing up for different sports or group in which kids are gathering together few times a week. Sport is probably the best option and some of the best friendships in life are made with teammates.
Lastly, never judge a child's social standing by the number of friends his has. Often, this can be misleading. A chatty, active child may seem to be constantly be surrounded by people but that doesn’t mean that they are his friends. Many parents believe that their kid should have many friends in school or kindergarten. This is not always relevant and it is not always that important. Your kid might have only one friend, but this might be enough if he feels happy and contented.
Written by Eugene Tay, founder of Brain & Butter and Monsters Under the Bed.
When Eugene was a young boy, he wanted to be an astronaut. When that didn't take off, he decided that he was going to be like Indiana Jones and explore the world as an archaeologist. Eventually, he figured out how he can do both. That's when he became a writer.