Rather than acting as lead negotiator in our son's and daughter's relationships, we should support them and coach in the sidelines with the next Dos and Don'ts:
Reframe friendship altercations as chances to learn valuable skills
Research suggests that kids who've great social skills grow up to be successful and more functional adults. And the good news is that these skills can be educated.
"Like all skills, social skills take practice and do not come naturally to all kids," says Kerford.
When our kids are experiencing camaraderie issues it's a chance for us to help them strengthen their empathy, develop resilience and learn crucial social skills.
It is likely frequently overlooked for that very reason while listening appears so easy. The same as when children talk about their issues adults they wish to feel understood, validated and heard.
Kerford says that we need to remind ourselves that what might appear little to an adult can loom large in the eyes of a kid; so substantial that it can seem overwhelming.
"Tune in and inquire direct, specific questions," says Kerford. "Generally children have difficulty saying what is going on, they merely 'feel bad'. Help them place a voice to it by digging deeper."
When my daughter talks about her friendship problems to me, my default answer is always to say to her the things that have been said to me. "Just ignore him", "Walk away", "She Is just jealous" are the sorts of phrases that immediately spring to mind.
But Kerford says that these answers can be overly passive and minimising.
Rather than pulling away, we should encourage our children to face their issues and never just put up with poor behavior.
Kerford suggests asking children what they could do differently next time and role-play with different scenarios in order that they feel more assured and practised.
Teach children the difference between healthy and unhealthy friendships
It is important for our children to know that they are in control in their lives. Kerford says that this includes the people they choose to surround themselves with. Do their buddies make them feel good about themselves? If not, they should minimise the time they spend with people who make them feel bad and spend most of their time with buddies who handle them nicely.
"Let them know that trust and esteem are 'must haves' when it comes to friendship," Kerford says. "Don't say, 'This is simply something all girls must go through.' This statement tells a girl she must bear through and she's helpless. We cannot normalise the behaviors of 'mean girls'."
There's a lot of conversation about bullies and bullying at this time. But Kerford's advice would be to prevent the word completely. The motive is that it is often misused and leads youngsters — and their parents — to label youngsters. Instead, she suggests the term "mean-on-purpose".
Parents can help their kids produce a fast come back statement to fight mean-on purpose behaviour. It does not have to be an Oscar Wildean witticism. A simple "Not trendy", "Wow" or "That was really mean" will suffice.
Fast comeback statements should be delivered in a powerful voice with important body language, and then the kid should walk away.
"If they've attempted using a fast rejoinder and the individual continues to be mean-on- goal, that is when an adult has to get involved," says Kerford.
Be a good role model
Anyone who is declared their head away during a spot of road rage only to have their little darling duplicate it the next day at Grandmother's house knows our kids modelling our conduct and are watching us. Especially, it seems, the bad touches.
"I understand it's so much pressure on parents, but their kids are watching them and mirror their behaviour. If we don't want our kid to gossip, we don't dish the dirt" says Kerford. "If we do not want our child to cry, we do not yell. Get to know more about online friendships at meetindiansonline.com.