Parents and teachers should work together to help a rejected child. School counselors or private therapists can also be a good source of support.
According to experts, these are some of the tactics that can help rejected children:
* Listen to a child's complaints about friendships. The complaint should be taken seriously and checked out if it persists over the course of a school year.
* Observe your child's play to see if there are obvious problems, such as aggressiveness or bossiness.
* Set up play dates outside school with someone your child chooses.
* Children can be taught social skills through practice at home or with a therapist. Role-playing or using puppets are good ways to help your child practice interacting with other children.
* Encourage your child to find an activity or skill that he or she is good in or enjoys, such as a sport or hobby.
* Boost the child's self-esteem by pointing out his or her good traits.
* Consider transferring a child to another school only if the child has learned social skills and behaves more acceptably but still cannot shake the "reject" reputation.
* Don't reveal your anxieties or frustrations about your child's social skills. Be honest about what your child does or needs to learn, but be loving and supportive.
* Teachers should keep parents informed of how the child is socializing at school.
* Teachers should discourage the practice of allowing a child to be excluded from a school activity, including during free time or playground time.
* Read books with your child on making friends. Some good ones include:
"Will I Have a Friend?" by M. Cohen (E. M. Hale, 1967); for preschoolers.
"Anna Banana and Me," L. Blegvad (Atheneum, 1985); for kindergarten and first-graders.
"Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing," J. Blume (Dial, 1972); for second- through fourth-graders.
"The Hot and Cold Summer," J. Hurwitz (William Morrow, 1984); for fifth- through eighth-graders.