Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Helping your child build healthy friendships


At nearly 8, my daughter is getting to that age where friends and BFFs are becoming increasingly important, but also posing challenges.

I have no concerns academically about her at school, but the biggest issue at the moment seems to be around friendships and playground fall-outs.  I know it's fairly common, especially amongst girls of this age, but every day there are tales of arguments, people being excluded from groups and games, upset over fallings-out and sometimes tears.  It has kept her awake at night where she's battled internally about differences of opinion, and she's very sensitive to classmates who are not included in playground activities, or those who dominate the group.

We've spent quite a long time talking openly and honestly about these issues over half term, she's agreed on occasion she should have handled situations differently, and we have come up with some strategies.

She's offered to invite a new child round for tea as she's worried she doesn't have many friends having only just moved to the area.

She's going to make an effort to make sure this child is included in her group's games.

We've talked about how to handle a child who is very domineering in the group, always wanting her own way.

We've discussed how mean words can hurt and how they make people feel, and encouraged her to use empathy.

As she grows older, her friendships may change.  She may gain a whole new bunch of friends when she starts her next school.  Friendships will come under strain when she or they discover 'love' and she'll need to learn how to maintain healthy friendships even when she has other interests.

My good friend, blogger and psychotherapist Becky Goddard-Hill has just launched a great new tool together with Emotionally Healthy Kids, to help children understand how to develop healthy friendships.

The FINK conversation cards prompt discussions that encourage children to look at the friendships they currently have and how well they are working, how to make new friendships and how to solve problems within friendships.  The questions are designed to make them think deeply about the value of friendship.



A good network of friends is such an important thing at any age, and anything that can help that can only be good.  Whether these are used at home, in PSHE lessons at school, in youth groups and extra-curricular clubs or in therapy sessions, they can really make a difference to your child's wellbeing now, and for the future.

The Healthy Friendship cards can be purchased online and are currently priced at £13.50 which I think is a really worthwhile investment.

25 comments:

  1. Wow, they look great. I have a similar aged daughter and both her best friends emigrated at Christmas. She has handled it much better than I expected, but it's been a tough transition for her. x

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    1. Oh that's hard. I remember moving (not that far) when I was 8, I was so upset leaving my friends behind.

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  2. I think dealing with friendship issues is one of the hardest things to advise on as a parent. We haven't experienced too many problems (boys don't seem to do this as much), but we have had the overbearing boy and the not-always-very-nice boy to deal with.

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    1. I do agree that girls seem to go through this more. Hope you managed to deal with those other issues. x

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  3. What a fantastic idea. Kids can find it hard to make friends but these cards will certainly help them along x

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  4. Thanks for sharing Liz your daughter sounds delightful!

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    1. No problem Becky, it's a great tool. And thanks - she's by no means perfect though! x

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  5. They do sound like a great investment, I do think playground fights start early with girls, we have already had our fair share of them and learning how to cope with fallouts is so important, while maintaining a healthy self-image.xx

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    1. Absolutely, it can seem like the end of the world at that age :(

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  6. I love the idea of these cards - with 10 and 8 year old girls here I think they're definitely needed!

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  7. Friendships and a feeling of belonging are so important, especially to girls of this age so these cards are a great idea to allow the opportunity to discuss these things in an easy way.

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    1. I love the idea of prompt cards for discussion.

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  8. Gosh friendships are h hardest thing to get right and even more so when they are just little. My girls are a similar age and going through the soem stuff too. I think Becky's crds are fab conversation starters. Mich x

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    1. Honestly, some days I can't keep up!

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  9. Having two boys, I've realised friendships can be just as difficult for them. They don't tend to fall out - but tend to form "tribes" from around the age of 7/8, where the sporty kids dominate and become more popular. My boys aren't your typical football-crazy lads. Luckily my eldest has found a couple of like minded friends and they stick together. My youngest chops and changes his buddies. These cards are a great idea.

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    1. I don't doubt it. I only have a girl, so don't really know what the boys are like, but I know there's lots of falling-out :(

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  10. These look like a fantastic idea - Isaac really struggled to make friends at school

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  11. These cards are such a good idea - I find it interesting to see how I would answer because there are situations where I know I could have handled them better too x

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    1. Yes, I think we could all learn a thing or two!

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  12. Oh my gosh it's such a minefield isn't it? I think girls are generally more hard work in this area, we are forever having playground dramas! I will have to check this out, I need all the help I can get! x

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  13. What a fab tool, not only for kids, but adults too

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