If you are a Mom, chances are that sooner rather than later, you will have to help your child navigate issues with their friends. You may ask, “how can I help my child with friend problems?” Whether someone is mean to them, or there is a misunderstanding, these situations will come up. It’s important as the parent that you help them navigate these disagreements in a God-honoring way.
How can I help my child with friend problems?
When Your Kid Has Trouble Making Friends
Has your child ever come home from church or an outing with friends saying any of these things?
“She doesn’t like me!”
“She is friendly to me till someone else comes along, and then she ignores me.”
“She just acts like I’m not there.”
If not, be prepared – she may some day. If so, what do you say?
- “Just stay away from her if she acts like that!”
- “Go find a new friend. You can do better than her!”
- “Ignore her!”
- All of the above.
- None of the above.
Hopefully, your answer was “5”. The first three responses are quite natural responses form a loving mom who is comforting her hurting child. But, we’re not supposed to be “normal.” We want to be under the Holy Spirit’s control! Therefore, when these kinds of thoughts occur, we need to bring our thoughts and feelings under His control, AND bite our tongues! Our response is going to be a big factor in how our kids respond!
How then should we react?
Skills A Child Needs To Develop And Maintain A Friendship
- Teach your child to tell the whole story
Be sure to get the whole story! Chances are, your little darling may be partly to blame also! Ask questions. “Why do you think that she doesn’t like you?” “What did you do when she ignored you?” “Have you ever treated her that way?” Perhaps there is some hidden jealousy buried that you need to deal with.
By the way, don’t allow your child to criticize the child that hurt them! She may tell the facts of what happened, or why she thinks she’s disliked, but may not attack and criticize. For example, she may say,” When I talk to her, she walks away from me.” She may not say, “She’s just stuck up, or mean, etc.”
- Make sure your child’s heart is right
I shared with my daughter this personal example from my life to help her. There is a lady whom I often felt uncomfortable around because I felt that she didn’t like me. It really bothered me because I don’t like feeling friction with anyone. So, I prayed and asked the Lord to show me if I was at fault. I asked Him to help me to love her and be kind to her, regardless of those uncomfortable feelings, and the way she treated me sometimes. Then I made it a point to pray that God would bless her. I also determined to be friendly and talk with her whenever possible by finding a topic that she loved to discuss – her kids. (All moms love to talk about their kids!) After doing these things, I knew that my attitude toward her was right, regardless of her feelings toward me, and I was able to accept that and love her.
In order to help your child keep her attitude right, she needs to pray and ask God to give her a love for the person, and to help her keep her own heart right.
How can I improve my child’s social skills?
- Teach them to be friendly to the offender.
A man that hath friends must show himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24) Rather than snub the person, or be exclusive, she should include her in her conversations and smiles. If it’s difficult, help her find a subject of interest to that person.
- Teach them to be friendly to all, not just a “best friend”.
Your children will be naturally drawn to kids of similar interests and certain personalities. However, encourage them not to think in terms of one “best friend,” but rather that they should have several friends. Then if they do tend to enjoy one over the other, they can still have friends, yet not be possessive. I often emphasize to my children that their brothers and sisters should be their best friends. They will always stand beside them and help them, whereas their other friends may move away or find new friends, etc.
- Teach the qualities of a good friend.
Show her Proverbs 17:17, and explain the importance of being a loyal friend. Part of that loyalty should involve helping each other to do right. (As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 26:17) Friends should help each other not to talk about others, to treat others kindly, and to be faithful to God and His Word.
Help Your Child Navigate Friendship Problems
If your child is going through friendship difficulties and hurting, by all means comfort them. The hurt is real. But, don’t miss the opportunity to teach and let them grow through it.
When my daughter was experiencing some problems, I told her she was lucky! She wasn’t exactly feeling too lucky, but I explained to her that all through life she will have to deal with people.
Not all of them will be easy to get along with, and some may hurt her. It was exciting to be able to teach her some valuable lessons at a young age that would help her grow and learn and would also help her all through life.
Difficulties can make us better if used right. Let’s use any difficulties our children face to help them grow!