We all get to choose who we want to be friends with, and who we don’t want to be friends with. This means that at some point or another, your child will want to be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends in return. This can be hard to come to terms with, but there’s really only one way around it: Back off, and find somewhere else to initiate a friendship wherein feelings will be reciprocated.
But what about that murky gray area where your kids have friends, but they feel like they are outsiders? When they feel like the third wheel?
And what happens when your children are the ones who are making others feel left out?
Groups of three are particularly difficult because someone always feels a bit like an outsider, so it's worth starting a conversation with your kids about how they show up in friendship triangles—whether they are on the inside or the outside.
The strategy for being on the inside is...
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...