Best Way to Teach a Child to Make Friends

Some children are quite self-contained and need few friends. But, in general, children who feel themselves to be “outsiders” feel uncomfortable and are often unhappy. They long to be with others and feel inferior or deficient because they do not have friends.

“I’m so lonely in the playground, and it’s like everyone’s staring at me because I’m the only one who’s alone,” explained seven-year-old Alice.

“Everyone else is rushing around, shouting and playing and stuff. I just sort of watch them. It makes me sad, but I just stand around,” said eight-year-old Mark.

Child Make Friends Best Way to Teach a Child to Make Friends

Children who are isolated from others evaluate themselves in a more negative way than children who regularly play with others and have friends. An isolated child does not simply think she has a low social status; she also sees herself as having a range of problems: Socially isolated children describe themselves as worrying more, being shyer, having fewer friends, and being less attractive. They also tend to see themselves as less happy than other children.

Though we cannot stand beside a child on the playground, we can help her develop skills to negotiate difficult social situations. Just as we help her acquire the skill of riding a bike, we can teach her skills that are needed for joining games and making friends. After all, the ability to solve problems, to negotiate difficulties, to overcome obstacles, to act with reasonable hope that one will succeed, are the defining points of self-esteem. These abilities are also important in the social world of the child.

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