|Feb 20, 2015 by Archana Waller|
A major concern for students going back to school is social issues. Social issues include dealing with friendships, all forms of bullying, impact of media, appearance issues, romantic relationships, amongst others. While most children are able to weather the ups and downs of life with a sympathetic ear, and some strategies, a small percentage may experience social pain which, according to Dr. G. MacDonald, is the experience of pain due to the result of interpersonal rejection or loss. For instance, a child who is teased constantly, a child who rarely gets an invite to parties, or one who feigns sickness to avoid going to school due to interpersonal issues at school.
So how can you help children manage these social pressures and problems?
Here are some helpful tips:
A. Ask the child concerned
- One of the best ways is to ask the child concerned directly, how they plan to cope with the things that worry them. If possible, get the opinions of their friends as well so they can advise and support each other. You will be surprised how wise and resilient they can be.
B. Help your child make new friends by:
- Talking about or brainstorming the sort of qualities that make a good friend
- Organizing play dates or activities
- Meeting the parents of your child’s friends.
- Value friendships over popularity
C. Enroll them in group activities or group work.
Children who have attended report numerous benefits from groups, such as:
- Social benefits
- Learning new skills
- Reinforcement of content through activities
- Encourages engagement in the group
D. Communicate with teachers and ask what you can do to help.
E. Teach your child to identify and express emotions effectively instead of acting them out in very physical and inappropriate ways.
The steps involve:
- Use pictures, books, videos and words to explain and talk about feelings. “Look at the little girl’s face. She looks scared when the dog starts barking at her.”
- Teach them different ways to deal with their feelings. Perhaps, taking a deep breathe when they are feeling anxious or frustrated. Or, other strategies like getting help from an adult, asking for a turn when others won’t share, finding a quite space to calm down.
- Teach them new ways to respond to feelings by creating a conversation around common situations that your child might remember. “When she said that to you, how did you feel? or “What do you do when you feel…?”
- Encourage your child to express their feelings. Praise them when they do talk about their feelings.
- Finally, practice makes better. Some activities that can help: Make a Face and guess the feelings, follow it up by describing the reasons that make you have that feeling; Make an Emotion Book which has pictures or drawing of what makes them ‘happy’ or ‘sad’; or download a feelings chart csefel.vanderbilt.edu/modules/2006/feelingchart.pdf orhttps://www.teachervision.com/vocabulary/printable/6846.html