How to Handle Friendship Problems
Kids' friendships can often get rocky, says Dr. Weinraub. She offers advice on how to respond to your child's complaints.
"She won't be my friend."
While it's tempting to tell your child not to worry because she has plenty of other friends, you should always show empathy when someone rejects your child's invitations. Say, "I'm sorry, honey. That must be sad for you." Then suggest that your child try to play with her again, explaining that it just might not have been the right time.
"He doesn't like me anymore."
Ask your child to tell you what happened -- maybe his friend sat with another kid at circle time or he wanted to play a different game than your child did. Once you have more details, tell him everyone deals with similar situations, even you. Say, for instance, "Suzie is my friend, but she likes to spend time with another friend sometimes too."
"I don't want to be her friend."
Find out why your child feels that way, but don't push her into a friendship she doesn't want. Make sure you remind her that you expect her to be respectful to everyone -- friend or not.
Originally published in the July 2008 issue of Parents magazine.