What do I tell a child who says she has no friends?
My 7 year old came to me this evening and said she had something "private" to tell me, then proceeded into sobbing that no one liked her anymore at school and she had no friends anymore. She said kids (mostly boys) were saying things to get her in trouble, and girls that she normally speaks highly of won't let her play or sit with them at lunch anymore. Then she told me that she feels no one loves her except for myself and Grandma!
Submitted by swtpea22

It is not unusual for 7-year-old girls to suddenly think that the sky is falling. The first thing to do is to determine whether or not it really is. Is this the first time she's come to you with these sorts of complaints? Has she seemed down or easily upset recently, or has she been mostly happy? If this was an isolated meltdown, it was probably just a bad day. The social scene in 2nd grade changes by the hour. If you see a pattern that concerns you - or if just want to be sure - check with her teacher. Ask the teacher about the incidents she described to you and how she is interacting with the students in the class in general. Has she really been getting in trouble? As a psychologist in an elementary school, I cannot tell you how many calls we receive with fantastic stories about playground insults and severe punishments that turn out to be exaggerations at best. Girls, in particular, can be quite dramatic! When kids are upset, they often distort stories in their own heads.

 

Once you have a better idea of what REALLY happened, you may still need to respond. Your goal should not necessarily be to make your daughter feel better. Children need to learn to face difficult situations and the unpleasant emotions that go with them. If you are focused on just helping her to feel better - because you are probably feeling pretty upset yourself - you may inadvertently give the impression that it's not OK to be sad. The more important goal is to learn to manage the situation and the emotion that comes with it. So, first be empathic - listen and tell her that you understand why she feels sad, hurt, or frustrated. Then, after a few minutes of that, ask her what she thinks she can do about it. Explore options with her rather than telling her how to solve it. Should she avoid certain kids? Stand up to them? Stick with her friends? Talk to a teacher? Then, encourage her to carry out the plan and ask her the next day how it went. Make changes to the plan, if necessary. If you are concerned that the conflicts go beyond what your child can handle independently, such as bullying, contact the school and ask them to intervene.

 

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Answered by yoniparents
Community Answers (5)

talk to the school staff about it, to see if it's an issue they can help resolve, on a more proactive level, consider involving your child in more out-of-school activities that involve lots of social, team-based interaction (eg. girl scouts, youth groups, sports/adventure groups), principally where she can form new long-term friendships and boost her convidence, without the competitive, bullyish cliques that naturally seem to form in schools.
Submitted by krzystoff

My daughter just turned seven and at her bday party I noticed two little girls telling her about why she invited some of the other girls to the party. I started talking to my daughter about being nice to others and event if those two little girls tell her not to talk to the other girls she needs to be her own person and if she likes her friends and they are being nice to her then she should play with them. The sad thing is that their mothers did not address it.
Submitted by cmagallan1

Sounds like indirect bullying to me. My 11 yr old went through a similar situation in 3rd-4th grade. I went to the teacher to keep a closer eye on the kids & tell me if my daughter's story was correct. It turned out that it was. Kids were saying mean things & ignoring her at recess. The teacher then started being proactive about the students & reinforcing class/bullying rules. Fortunately, the kids who were the problem moved on this year to Middle School. "S" has many close friends now.
Submitted by candenhouse2738610

do not jut step back and hope it blows over. talk to the child about it. what are the kids saying? what are they doing? problem solve. It is really important for parents to understand the magnitude of the problem. It is also important that you dont try to solve the problem for the child, but teach them the life skills they need to get through it.
Submitted by cbeyer23