Photo by Mikhail Nilov
Nothing hurts more than your child experiencing pain from being excluded early on. Seeing the lonely look on their faces and being left out by their peers is crushing. The worst-case scenario is that it may even lead up to childhood trauma.
Today’s way of social interaction has drastically changed. Kids spend more time on their phones, fishing for superficial love and validation from strangers. Today’s generation hardly interacts in person anymore. The tendency to get lost in a sea of people online can still make them feel isolated from the rest.
This is because kids have become wiser and more articulate about what they want and who they hang out with, making socialization entirely selective. And, of course, if your child is growing among those kinds of peers, they would want to be a part of it and will do anything to fit in.
At some point, your kids will often experience loneliness and a spare tire in every friend group. How will you help them navigate through the maze of early social interaction?
Are you willing to let them feel emotional pain or answer very touchy questions like why they don’t have any friends or if they are unlovable? They are prone to feeling those negative emotions after being ignored in the playground or left out in every group conversation.
Ways you can help your child deal with relational aggression
Parents like us are often left wondering how we can help our children get through these lonely times. It can get confusing, especially for parents of adolescent kids learning to have a sense of privacy and independence.
You might need clarification about stepping in or staying out of it. So what is the best thing to do then?
Relational aggression comes from passive-aggressive mean interactions or indirect bullying that ultimately damages relationships or reputations. It is to make fun of another person over their looks or hobbies.
Another example of relational aggression is spreading false rumors about another person. Ironically this act of breaking someone’s self-esteem for personal benefit is primarily for establishing or maintaining social status.
It may differ from the usual physical aggression prevalent among children, but relational aggression can scar a child for life.
Tips to help your child cope with exclusion
1 – Hear them out with full intent.
Avoid dismissing your child when they open up about their negative experiences at school. Do not avoid any discussion or a quick reaction. Try to encourage them to vent their feelings without any interruption or criticism.
2 – Let them know that their feelings are valid.
Show your children that you care about how they feel about being excluded. You are their source of strength when they feel like they don’t belong anywhere else. Please give them the affirmation that you understand and are willing to lend your ear and shoulder to what they are going through.
3 – Always see where they’re coming from.
No matter how famous or not your child is, they are not spared from being lonely during social interactions. To understand where they’re coming from, ask your child if they are willing to hear your take on their social struggles.
4 – Be your child’s safe space.
The world is tough enough for your child to be in when it’s time for them to figure everything out. Being at school may be distressing for them, and the moment they go home, you are the one they will look for to provide comfort. Show your child that they are loved and understood by everyone at home.
5 – Look for positive coping skills and bonding time.
Sometimes, your child needs to look for something else to do to forget about their problems at school. And you are the right person who can give them the comfort they need that not even their friends couldn’t provide.
Try spending time with them by treating them somewhere with food, movies, or reading times. And speaking of reading books, an excellent way to start is the book “nobody” IS “SOMEBODY” by Dr. Sandra C. Birchfield. Her book is an excellent guide for parents to understand how their child can gain respect from others and the courage to get through various social exclusions.