As your child grows up, they will experience a variety of social challenges. When they’re around the age of attending preschool, social challenges can be as simple as a child not sharing a toy with them. If they haven’t been exposed to this much, it can be confusing for them. As your child arrives at the middle school age, social challenges can include not being able to make friends or feeling uncomfortable with themselves in a social situation. As a parent, there are a number of ways that you can help your child gain the confidence that they need in order to face these different social challenges.
It’s important that you teach your child how to make friends. While it may seem intuitive to you, it may not be to your child, especially if they are shy. They should be guided to introduce themselves, ask the other child a few questions about themselves and make that connection. It’s important for your child to also understand the importance of finding the right friends. Latching on to the first child that shows your child’s attention isn’t necessarily the best option. There are children who might not be focused or doing the right things. The availability of social media has increased bullying in schools. This can cause children to not know who their real friends are and can socially affect a child.
If your child is having issues with gaining confidence and making friends, it’s important that they find ways to expose themselves to new people. They should get involved in things like sports, after school clubs and spend some time playing outside in your neighborhood. Even adults find that exposure therapy can help feel better about a situation. Help your child develop the confidence that they need to meet new people and make friends. You can set small goals together to help your child build up some confidence. If they are socializing with a child in their class, see if they can end up getting together with that person at some point in the next few weeks. It will help your child build confidence if they can work up the courage to make plans.
It doesn’t help your child if they are left to deal with their emotions on their own. They need to understand that what they’re feeling is ok. It’s alright to feel anxious or uncomfortable in social situations. If your child struggles with social anxiety, they may benefit from simple coping strategies. Most importantly, you shouldn’t dismiss the way that they are feeling. There are few things more detrimental to a child than feeling like what bothers them doesn’t matter to their parents. Simply be a shoulder for them to cry on when they need it.
Everyone experiences social challenges at one time during their life. There are adults who still feel awkward in certain situations. It’s not okay to make ourselves feel bad for not knowing the right thing to do all the time. Children and adults can learn from one experience and move on to the next.