ASK THE EXPERT
MY DAUGHTER’S FRIENDS ARE LEAVING HER OUT – WHAT CAN I DO?
QMY 10-year-old daughter is being left out by her friends, and is upset, which upsets me. Is there anything I can do to help? A PARENTING expert Tanith Carey,
author of The Friendship Maze (Summersdale, £10.99), says: “At some point, every child will come home saying they’ve been left out at school. But if your child was once part of a group, and now finds herself always on the sidelines, she may be being deliberately excluded.
“There are many possible reasons. It may be the child who has the most social status sees your daughter as a rival, wants to flex her social muscles and your child is the easiest target, or your daughter has broken an unwritten rule, which could be anything from wearing the ‘wrong’ shoes to liking the ‘wrong’ band.
“Firstly, give lots of support. This is taking place within the social microcosm of school from which your daughter probably feels there’s no escape. The fear of being visibly alone at break or lunch may be so great that she may be nervous of going to school.
“Next, tell her about times you were left out at school, or had fall-outs with friends and how it didn’t last forever. To help her understand what’s happened, explain how cliques work too.
“Researchers have found that whenever humans form groups they assign each other roles. In girls’ cliques, it can be anything from Queen Bee, to Sidekick, Messenger, Target or Wannabe.
“When you help your daughter work out where she fits in, she’ll realise being left out is mostly to do with clique politics, not how likeable she is.
“Rather than waiting to be readmitted, it may be time to help her daughter move on. Be supportive and set up play dates with others. And don’t forget to make sure your child sees her mates outside school, so she knows she’s still liked outside the fraught social hierarchy in classrooms.
“Finally, set aside one-on-one time – so she feels loved and valued by you.
“Remember you are her first friend and your child will get the main messages about how likeable she is directly from you.”
Tanith Carey and her new book