Dealing with mean friends. No, I do not mean, us, dealing mean people. I mean teaching your child to deal with mean friends. Yes, it happens with children too. And that’s part of parenting too.
How I wish that I never had to write this post. I wish this world was a perfect place with perfect people. How I wish that I never have to deal with mean people, let alone guide my child to deal with them.
But, alas, this world is not a perfect place. We get to meet all kinds of people all the time. As hard as it is, for us adults to deal with mean people, it is even more harder to guide our kids dealing with mean friends.
If you have been following my blog you will know that I have a recently relocated to a new place. With relocation comes all the hurdles. New country, new climate, new home, new neighbors, new school, new friends.
It has been especially hard on the kids. Though it has been over a year since we have relocated, kids are still finding it difficult to adapt here.
The elder kids are the ones that are affected the most. It has been relatively easier for the younger one to adapt in a new place. I was actually apprehensive about the little one before we shifted.
But then I saw her adapting so very well to the new place. I realized that younger they are, easier for them to adapt. However with the elder kids it is still a struggle. Both of them have their own challenges in their own ways.
Sometimes it really gets on my nerves. Parenting solo when the husband is away at work is hard enough. Add all the challenges that come uninvited and it is like a bubble. You don’t know when it is going to burst.
It is the school that is the hardest for them to adapt. As they are already a tween and a teen, friendships have been formed already. It is them trying to find their place amidst an already formed group.
My teen has found a friend with whom she has been getting along pretty well. But the friends of her new BFF are being pretty mean with them.
I have no clue what is the issue between them. Although she has been managing without any problems for the past year but all of a sudden her friends are being really mean.
Recently my daughter came home upset. She has been at loggerheads with the classmates of late. They have been disrupting her BFF and her during class. They have been calling her names. And the list of complaints goes on.
I was just left wondering that she didn’t have this problem last year. I had to calm her down to be able to make her think rationally. Then the truth came out. She wanted to stand up for her new BFF but unfortunately was getting teased herself. She has been fighting them back when her friend was getting teased.
I told her to ignore their words and get on with the class. She agreed to it and promised she will do her best to maintain her calm.
But the next day she was in even more bad shape. She was crying so badly that I was totally taken aback. I had to collect myself to understand the situation.
I realize that it was not a small tiff that could be resolved easily between friends just by ignoring. It has rather snowballed into a fight between them.
I asked who is the one person with whom she has the most issues with. I asked her to talk to that person who is being really mean with her.
She was being very negative to such a suggestion.
“Why should I talk with them when I am not wrong.” That was her reaction. HER EXACT WORDS!
I made her realize that ultimately it is she who is getting badly affected. Instead of concentrating on her studies or doing anything productive she has been wasting her time and energy on negative things. It is affecting her so badly that she is bringing it to home and losing her sleep over it.
She said she would give it a try once. But with a condition if they don’t respond positively then she’s done. I assured her, if it doesn’t get better I have her back.
Looks like, she took that particular kid with whom she had the most problems with aside and sorted it out.
Her friend was pretty cool with it and all the drama has stopped ever since.
Now this might not work out with everyone. Every situation is different and every child is different. What works for one child might not work for others. I am listing the following steps that you can follow to help your child deal with mean friends.
First check if it is friendly teasing or unfriendly teasing. If it is just a friendly banter, the kids will get over it themselves
But it is not then you can ask your child to ignore the mean friends.
You can teach your child coping mechanism to deal with such situations. Teach them that no one can tease them without their consent. It is their own behavior that would lead to more teasing.
The child can respond to the teasing by
Stopping firmly- Your child has to be firm and look them in the eye and say “Stop it” or “That’s not acceptable and you will get in trouble for that.”
Being Happy about it- “Oh, thank you. Thank You. I am so happy that you think like that about me.”
Acknowledge- “How did you know that about me?” or “You seem to know me better than anyone else.”
Don’t Care- “Whatever” or “I don’t care” and just walk away.
Under no circumstances encourage your child to retort to physical or verbal abuse themselves.
Help or ask your child to find new friends to hang out with. It is never cool to hang out with mean friends. They will need a good social support system to get through such phases. No child likes to be isolated. And it is very important that they hang around good friends for better social development.
You can ask your child to talk to their friends positively to stop it. They can try reasoning with their friends to stop their negativity and how it is impacting them. I have seen that with most kids, this actually works for the most part. Unless the other kid has an issue, most of the kids respond positively when confronted positively. The problem that we have been thinking over and over would be solved in couple of minutes by them.
If you feel that your child is still affected despite their best efforts. Talk to their teacher about your concerns. The younger the kids, it is better that sooner you talk about it with the teacher. The teacher should know what is going on in the class and most often they will be able to sort it out amicably.
Get the school involved if things go out of control. Address the issues that has been bothering your child and the impact it has on your child.
So these were my steps to help your child deal with mean friends. How do you help your child deal with their mean friends. I would love to hear from you through comments.
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Until Next Time,