Llanelli Star - - FAMILY HEALTH -

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

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