Exclusionary groups, commonly referred to as cliques, usually start to form during the middle school years for girls and a couple of years later for boys.
As a parent, what can you do when your child is excluded? Is it appropriate to intervene?
Pediatric psychiatrist Laura Rocker recommends you take these 5 steps to help your children cope with being left out of a clique:
- Reinforce to your kids what true friendship is. Demonstrate that you value being nice to others and not excluding anyone.
- Encourage them to get involved with different groups or activities outside of school, such as church youth groups and other clubs or teams. Besides developing new skills and interests, they’ll learn how to relate to others in new social situations. This will also help them to become more well-rounded so their entire sense of self is not based on how popular they are.
- Enjoy time together to make your children feel valued and loved.
- Role-play together regarding how to handle situations where they’re excluded or picked on.
- Allow your kids to work things out on their own. However, if you’re concerned that bullying has gone too far and your child is in real danger of physical or emotional harm, don’t hesitate to intervene. As a first step, notify your child’s principal or teacher about the situation.
“It’s natural for parents to be uncomfortable with the idea of any child, especially their own, being left out,” Dr. Rocker said. “Kids also need to learn and accept that not everyone is going to like them and that’s ok.”