Can I help my daughter have a wider circle of friends?
Q. My 5 year old finds it extremely hard to form new friendships. She is very close to a particular girl in her school – however, that child has a big group of friends and does not spend the amount of time with my child as my daughter would like. This seems to be causing issues between the two which is contributing to my child feeling vulnerable and lonely. Is there anything I can do to help? Would changing her school help?
A. It is important for young girls to have a wide social group of friends. I would encourage you to support your daughter in making friends with some of the girls in her class by inviting them over for play dates, taking a friend to the park, asking them round for tea and so on. You might also want to get to know some of the other parents too.
Talk to your daughter, but don’t make asking about friendships the first thing you talk about when you collect her from school. At home you can teach your daughter to play games and have fun and encourage her to have lots of friends not just one. Talk to her about how it is good to play with different people, and that playing with one child doesn’t mean that she is no longer friends with another.
Speak to your daughter’s class teacher and ask her if your daughter plays with other girls at school. The teacher may well be able to make a few suggestions and to keep an eye on her friendships at school and reassure you that she does play with a variety of girls. Try and encourage your daughter to explain how she feels as a result of the situation to her class teacher so that the teacher can mediate between the two and perhaps use it as a wider lesson to help all the children.
Friendships are an important part of girls’ lives and there may well be more issues as she gets older. Changing schools at this stage will not help as she needs to learn how to deal with the challenges and ups and downs of friendships.
Sarah-Jane Styles Francis Holland School (Sloane Square)
Hina Thaker Northwood College