When a Friendship Ends

Children may be very upset when a friendship ends.
My eight-year-old daughter had a best friend all year in school. They were inseparable, but now the other child has told her that they aren't friends anymore. I know this usually blows over, but I'm worried about my daughter. She isn't sleeping and she cries about this all the time. Now she doesn't want to go to school anymore, whereas she used to beg to go on the weekends! Do I need to talk to the teacher to see what's been going on or should I just leave it alone?
You're right that these problems usually resolve themselves if the children are left to work them out. This one, however, is affecting your daughter's attitude toward school, so you may want to get involved. Talk with the teacher to find out what may have happened between the girls.

You may want to talk with the school counselor. He or she may be able to give your daughter some individual time or include her in a small group on friendship. The counselor or teacher could also lead some friendship activities with the class and encourage new friends on the playground and at lunch.

You can also help your daughter find new friends. Let her invite one or two friends from school or from the neighborhood over to play. Encourage your daughter to get involved in groups to make new friends. Joining a Girl Scout troop, a soccer team, or a church group can allow her to make friends away from the issues at school.

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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