The formation of cliques in school, or close groups of friends that have shared interests is a natural part of growing up. The need for belonging can start as early as the first few years of grade school and can intensify as the child grows older, However, if your child does not have a close group of friends during a time where various cliques start forming around him, it can be a difficult experience trying to fit in. As any person would tell you, being excluded and/or rejected is not a good feeling.
Children tend to invest plenty of their emotions and energy in trying to fit in. This can cause them to feel stress and other negative feelings that can, in turn, affect the other areas of their life. If you want to help your child address these situations, read on to find out several ways you can help your child deal with cliques in school.
Being respectful and understanding towards your child’s longing for acceptance and belonging is a great first step in helping him to deal with this issue. It is important for your child to feel that you understand that this is important for him. Respect also means that you will not ridicule or discount what may seem like an excessive reaction and accommodate your child’s feelings accordingly.
For example, instead of telling your child to ignore or avoid the group of kids that he wants to be friends with, try telling him to treat them with kindness and courtesy. If the problem is that he does not share the same interests as the popular clique, try encouraging him to try new things and adopt new habits like sports or dancing. Don’t forget that cliques are formed on the basis of shared interests. The more interests your son has, the more chances he will have to find a suitable group of friends he can be a part of.
Aside from respect, playing an active role in your child’s life can help him develop healthy relationships, which will arm him with the proper skills to deal with cliques. It is possible that your son is finding it hard to gel with other kids because he doesn’t have the right set of social skills needed to be part of group relationships.
One thing you can do is to try your best to be involved with his friends without being too controlling. A simple way of doing this is by interacting and befriending the parents of the kids he wishes to be friends with at school. Be intentional in making friends with the other parents during Parents’ Day or parent-teacher meetings. You’d be surprised at just how much this relationship with your child’s classmates and their parents can be beneficial in helping your child handle cliques and peer pressure.
Dealing with various cliques in school is something that can be a difficult thing to do for your child, especially since belonging groups such as these become more and more important to a child as he grows older and older. Respect, understanding, and taking a proactive approach to knowing your child’s classmates and parents are some of the ways that you can help your child deal with this area of his life.