Help Your Child Make Friends

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.