8 Tips for Helping Kids Cope with Friendship Disappointments

How do you help your child whose been let down by his friend?

Posted Sep 03, 2015

It can be heartwrenching to see your child being excluded by a group of former friends. We all want our kids to be socially successful and to enjoy the benefits of a sense of belonging and acceptance by his peers. When your child gets let down, what are some of the best ways to respond? 

  1. Don’t make your child feel worse if a friend has let her or him down. When we jump into the “I told you so” mode, we are compounding the hurt, not helping with healing!
  2. Remind your child that trust is a gift and to place trust in friends who show they trust her and can be trusted, themselves.
  3. If your child is worried that each new friend she tries to make is a risk, remind her of the previous times he was successful in making healthy friendships – “remember how you and Marco became good friends when you first joined the soccer team?”
  4. Don’t jump into all of your child’s friendship conflicts – we all need to learn how to protect our hearts on our own.
  5. Be willing to allow your child to make some mistakes in life, but be there to provide damage control, as needed. We cannot oversee every friendship, but we need to be willing to help a child pick up the pieces if a friendship fails.
  6. Remind your daughter that even if practicing good friendship behaviors won’t help this particular friendship, it is great practice in being the friend you would want to be for future friendships.
  7. When friendship groups push a member out of the circle, that child may be much more willing to tolerate even worse treatment from another group just to feel a sense of “belonging.” Help your child recognize what is okay and not okay in terms of how others leave her feeling about herself.
  8. Lastly, model good friendship behaviors for your child with your own friends; help him see how friendships handle misunderstandings, conflicts, or challenges. We cannot learn how to be a good friend if we don’t see others practicing the right skills.