Most parents feel great pain when their child is unhappy. If other children do not accept your child into their group, it can be particularly painful for your child and for you. Before you can help your child navigate peer group dynamics, you need some understanding about how this process works, according to “Highlights Magazine.”
Importance of Acceptance
Some children like to be alone more than other children do. Although some alone time is good for children, if your child says that she is lonely, she can also be feeling excluded and sad, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lonely children may have poor self-esteem, feel self-conscious, act awkwardly and be hard on themselves. These issues become a self-perpetuating cycle, making it even more difficult for children to join activities, which isolates them even further.
When Peer Groups Begin
Children start to become selective about their peer groups when they enter school. It becomes important for children this age to be in a group. Parents and teachers may try to stop some children from excluding others, but parents and teachers cannot usually influence this. Children make these decisions themselves.
Girls and Boys Both Exclude
Girls and boys both exclude others, but for different reasons. Girls can be cliquish and exclude other girls who are different or because they don’t feel secure about their own status in the group and don’t want competition. Girls also may worry that a friend from when she was younger knows too many secrets about her, according to “Highlights Magazine.” Boys are more accepting of different types, but boys tend to bully smaller and weaker boys.
Boys and girls often exclude obese children from peer groups. They do this because obese children are an easy target. Bullies know how to make life miserable for overweight kids, and they often get away with it. It is easier for you to determine why your child is obese and deal with the problem than to try to make children stop being mean, according to the Child Obesity Tips website.
How You Can Help
Encourage your child to join various groups. Boys and girls can join the Scouts, religious groups, sports teams, music groups or acting groups. You can also teach your child how to be a friend by teaching him how to listen, empathize and communicate with others. Also, if you are worried that your child is not fitting in, you can talk to his teacher who may be able to recommend some children who may be more accepting.
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