How to Teach Kids to Make Up with a Friend

Posted on by admin | in babysitting

Childhood is not always full of rainbows and unicorns for kids. Adults often like to think that is the case because they look back and remember fondly what they now see as carefree days without the responsibility and pressure of work and managing a household. What some adults seem to forget is that kids sometimes have problems, too. These problems can be particularly difficult for them, in fact, because they don’t have the benefit of experience to draw upon in knowing how to deal with and cope with particular situations. One such situation is a falling out with a friend.

Children have fights amongst themselves, and it’s tough for them to know what to do when it happens. This is where parents need to step in and coach them. In the end, it is up to the child to rectify the situation, but as a parent you can be there to guide him and help him make sense of the situation.

Get to the Bottom of the Particular Situation

The first thing you are going to want to do is find out what happened. Kids fight about a lot of things. Sometimes kids feel left out when a friend plays with someone new. Two kids may fight because they both want to get their own way.  Sometimes, one child hurts the other, either physically or emotionally.

Let your child tell you what happened and just let them vent. Use reflective listening to tell him you understand how he feels. Don’t tell him his feelings are wrong or assign any blame to either party. Just tell him you understand that he is upset.

Talk About Perspective

Once your child has vented, you can try asking him what both kids could have done differently. Your child may say something you view as the ‘wrong” answer, such as, “My friend could have done what I wanted.”  Just respond with something like, “Okay, that’s one thing, what else could you have done?  Do you think if you guys had taken turns you still would have had this argument?”

Try to get your child to see the situation from the other child’s point of view. Ask him why he thinks his friend did or said what he did. Ask him how he thinks his friend felt. Again, don’t try to get the “right” answers out of your child. It is enough to get him into the habit of trying to view difficult situations from different perspectives.

Determine Whether Your Child Wants to Salvage the Relationship

Ask your child if he wants to make up with his friend. Making up won’t work if he doesn’t want to. If he says no, which is highly unlikely, just tell him that is fine and to let you know when he does so you can help him. If your child does not want to make up with his friend and there have been many instances in the past of your child being hurt, maybe it is for the best. If your child is clearly in the wrong, such as if he physically harmed the other child, let him know he needs to apologize either way.

Hatch a Plan

When your child is ready to resolve his dispute, brainstorm with him ways in which he can do this. Ask him what he would want if he were in the other person’s shoes and what he wishes his friend would say to him. Think of different ways to approach the situation, such as simply asking the child to play again and moving on, making the friend a card or telling the child how he felt by saying, “It made me feel mad when you would not let me have a turn with the truck. Next time can we take turns?”

Talk About Conflicts as a Normal Part of Everyday Life

Let your child know that everyone has a falling out from time to time, and sometimes going through these hard times together with friends makes relationship even stronger than before. Also, let them know that it is normal to feel awkward and uncomfortable after an argument. Tell him if he is brave and pushes through it, everything will get back to normal quickly and both kids will feel better.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if going through these steps is not bringing about a resolution. You’ll want your child to be able to ask for help throughout his life when things get too difficult to manage, so show him now that reaching out for assistance is a viable option. If the altercation occurred at school, calling on a teacher or the school counselor can be extremely beneficial. You can also contact the other child’s parents and see if they will also talk to their child. Then, see about setting up a play date for the kids so they can enjoy one another’s company again.

Remember to talk about forgiveness with your child. Remind him that nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Ask him if he can forgive his friend and, if your child is in the wrong, be sure that he takes the time to forgive himself. Children can be very hard on themselves, and sometimes try to run away from a friendship because they do not want to face the mistakes they made. It’s important that they face their difficulties and fears with you by their side for support, so that they can build experience and confidence.

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