Supporting Your Child To Make Friends | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode, our  Marriage and Family Counselor gives us some wonderful take away tips on what to do when your child tells you he/she has no friends.

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • When and how to listen to your child’s social problems
  • How to respond to your child
  • What questions to ask your child
  • Suggestions and tips to help your child be more social

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman, and today I’m standing with marriage and family
counselor Beth Chung. Beth, can you tell us how to help children
make friends?

Beth: Sure. I think this is a really important question and one that I get
asked pretty often. In our previous segment of Pediatric TV, Dr.
Stasi was really talking about tailoring the treatment of
helping your child make friends to each child’s individual
strengths and growth areas and needs. Today I’ll just touch on
some general strategies, but I’d really encourage parents to
keep that tidbit in mind.

One really important strategy, I think, which is often
overlooked, is to really listen to your child. I think a lot of
times parents realize that their child is struggling when he or
she comes to their parents and says, “Mom, dad, I have no
friends. No one wants to hang out with me.” It can feel really
tempting for parents to say, “No, that’s not true. I’m sure you
have tons of friends,” or, “Who cares what other kids think?”
It’s a way to reassure their child, but really it can minimize
your child’s concerns and prevent them from coming to you in the

Something that I would suggest is something as simple as, “That
must be really hard,” or, “I bet it feels really tough when
you’re picked last in gym. I can understand why you might feel
like you have no friends,” even if you may feel differently,
because as soon as your child feels heard and accepted, you can
move on to some problem solving. This is a really great way to
help your child to feel more empowered.

Asking open-ended questions such as, “One possible reason is
that you don’t have friends, which is why you’re alone on the
playground. What else could it mean?” Coming up with suggestions
such as, “Well, you’re new in school and the kids might have
some other friends, and they might be shy to ask you to play,”
or, “Maybe they don’t know that you want to play with them,” are
some good suggestions to offer.

Another really good open-ended question is, “How can you show
that you want to be friends?” Coming up with a list of concrete
skills, such as asking to join in a game, asking someone to play
a game with them, saying hello, or complimenting are strategies
that your children can practice at home. You can make it fun and
role play with your kids. If you’re driving to the playground,
you can say, “All right, Carrie. Today we’re going to go to the
playground and if you see two girls playing house together, how
can you ask them to play? What are two things you can do?” This
can really help your child to feel empowered.

Those are some strategies that I’d suggest. But again, it’s
really important to reach out to the school, the teachers, the
principal, the social worker, as Dr. Stasi mentioned in our
previous segment, to really tailor this to each child’s unique
needs and growth areas.

Robyn: Thank you so much, Beth, and thank you to our viewers. And
remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
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