Help Kids Avoid Friendship Drama

friendship interpersonal relationships Sep 18, 2020

Teaching your kids to be floaters can help them avoid friendship drama. 

Being a floater means they can float among various social groups. They have friends from club soccer, from their current school, and from elementary school. They have a friend from summer camp, a couple friends in older or younger grades, and a few friends from their parents’ social groups.

Often, children latch onto one best friend. While this is normal (and even great), having only one friend can create problems down the road. What happens when your child and the friend have a falling out, when the friend moves to another state, or when the friend moves onto other interests and friendships? 

When your children are floaters, the impact of friendships that drift-off is less devastating. 

Floaters are also less upset when they are excluded from things. After all, they have other places to go, people to see, and things to do.

Being able to float in and out of social groups has the added benefit of helping kids avoid drama. When they are not dependent upon one social group, they can simple float over to another social group if the dynamics become uncomfortable or hostile in the first group.

Beyond that, children who are floaters learn to develop friendships with a wide range of people, which is a skill that will serve them throughout their personal and professional lives.

So how can you, as a parent, teach your child to be a floater? 

Ask your children who they would like to invite over for dinner from soccer club.  Find parents you like, and spend time as families together. Talk to your kids about the importance of building a strong network of many different friends who have their own unique traits that they bring to the friendship.

Sure, help them nurture that one “bestie,” but take advantage of opportunities to encourage them to spend time with other people, too. Ask them questions like:

  • "What is one thing you love doing that you have in common with some friends, but not with other friends?"
  • "Have you ever noticed that some people you love have certain characteristics  that other people you love do not have? What are some of those qualities?”
  • “Do you and your best friend tend to be isolated from other people, or do you invite other people into your circle?”
  • “Do you think it is better to have lots of close friends, or one best friend?”
  • “Who would you hang out with if your best friend moved?”
  • “Are there certain activities you enjoy more with one friend and other activities you enjoy more with another friend?”

Be sure to download our free ebook: Five Conversations Every Parent Should Have With Their Kids

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