Sunday, November 21, 2010

How can I help my child fit in at school?

Ms. Dorothy ,
My 8 year-old daughter is having a hard time fitting in at school. Her class is full of cliques and she just hasn’t found her niche yet. There are many days that she ends up sitting by herself at recess. I have encouraged her to smile, to be kind, and if nothing else works, be content playing on the monkey bars by herself. Nothing is working! What can I do to help her “fit in??”
-Worried Mom

Your positive attitude and faith that she will eventually find her niche and fit in is her strength! Keep believing in her and encouraging her to be good with being on her own!

The thing about cliques is that they are typically made up of children who have something in common. It may be something very superficial, but there is something about themselves that they recognize in one another. Insecurity is what makes cliques exclude anyone who they don't see that trait in. The best approach is often through that insecurity.

One way she may be able to approach other children is by having that knowledge. Ask her to look for what the unifying thing is about a group, what it is that they think they all have in common.

It is important to remember that we make friends one relationship at a time. Breaking into a clique is about making one friend. Once she figures out what she has in common with one person, the problem will fade.

How powerful it will be when, in time, she reaches out to include the little girl she sees sitting alone on the playground.

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