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In: home > Raising Children / Social Relationships in Children / Lonely Children

Lonely Children

raising-children Social Relationships in Children
Friendships are a must for healthy development of a child but some children are perpetual lonely. The reasons could vary.  Parents have to find the reasons of loneliness. Here are some tips for parents to help a lonely child.

"Mummy, I am not invited to Saira's party." "Mummy, nobody wants to play with me." "Daddy, nobody wants me on their basketball team." When parents hear such statements from their children, it is heart-rending and all their protective instincts rush to the fore. But most often, parents are at a loss as to how they can help. 

No matter how strongly parents feel the need to play Mr. or Mrs. Fixit, this is one area where playing the heavy could backfire. Friendships are not something that you can go out and buy your children like their favourite toy so there's no point trying to bribe your children's peers with expensive gifts and outings to fancy places. The best that you can do in situations like this is to be supportive, boost their confidence, be a good listener and help your children develop a sense of humour so that they can ride out difficult situations like this without going under. 

Do not assume that your child is lonely. She may be a kind of person that needs more space and does not have a very strong need for companionship. There are many children who are quite happy curled up in a corner reading a book or engaged in other solitary activities. You should diagnose loneliness based on your observations of her interaction with her peers and listening to what she says. You should also keep an eye out for changes in behaviour like fitful sleep, moodiness or loss of appetite. If you are worried about your child's inability to make friends, speak to her teacher or even to a counsellor if you feel the need. You should also keep in mind that some children have a greater need for social approval than others and their idea of no friends may just be that not everyone likes her. 

How you can help

  • Invite children over to play especially younger children as playing with younger children can boost your child's confidence. The older child tends to feel more in control and is less likely to be intimidated by a younger child.
  • Give your child advice about how she should go about making friends. Not all children are born with this ability so you may need to teach your child some social skills. Tell her to find friends with common interests and to show interest in other children's hobbies. 
  • If your child is upset about her lack of friends, do not try to gloss over the situation. Be sympathetic and vocalize the way she must be feeling. Try to help her think of ideas to overcome her problem, but don't spoonfeed her.
  • When your child invites other children over, you can help break the ice by organizing a few games or activities initially before leaving them to their own devices. However, do not play the fussy mother hen all the time. Your child will never learn to make friends on her own steam.
  • Observe her interactions with her peers and point out later where she might be going wrong. Maybe she's too bossy or not willing to share or too quick to take offence. Explain this to her in a way that doesn't get her back up so that she feels that you too are against her.
  • Encourage her to be persistent and take the effort. If another child has turned an invitation down, tell your child that there's no harm inviting her over again instead of taking the rebuff to heart and retiring hurt.
  • Do not encourage competition with her peers or engage in constant comparisons. This will foster feelings of insecurity and rivalry rather than friendship.
  • Do fun things with your child so that she gets the message that she is a good fun companion and not a bore as she may secretly think.
  • Enrol your child in hobby classes that will teach her a skill or highlight a talent or encourage her to participate in activities like team sport that will widen her social circle and boost her confidence.

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chloe.3 years ago
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Rohini.6 years ago
i think the first child is the one who feels lonely. the secod one does not face this problem as he has someone to play with and when he is born, the elder one no more feels lonely.
TMaree.6 years ago
my second son is quite lonely. his older and younger brother (ages 9,8,4) all have friends. my second son has been described as being a "parallel child" by his teacher (he doesn't actually like to participate but likes to be alongside kids doing the activities). my son says nobody likes him and that he doesn't get invited to parties. his father and i have told him how to be a good friend, but he still can be quite selfish (won't share if he doesn't feel like it), throws a tantrum if he doesn't win the game and is very argumentative with other kids and just storms off in a huff when he doesn't get his own way. he doesn't seem to understand that this sort of behaviour deters kids from wanting to be friends, even though we've pointed this out to him. i'm at a loss because i feel sick when he says nobody likes him and yet he wont' take our advice!
alpana.6 years ago
it is often noticed that a child imitates rather reflects the parents image. making friends is a skill which mainly depends on communication. this too parents teach the children right from their infancy the time spent with them. the heart to heart conversations discussing habits schedules etc. the inherited genes play an imp part in being lonely and the father mother relationships too affect the childs ability to express. parents often do not have friends so what does a child learn from that? children should be left in play groups where there is supervision yet little interference in their chats and games.
stephanie.6 years ago
lonely children need to try and join in with other people
Misty.6 years ago
my 11 year old daughter is always alone at school. she spends all of her time alone. she eats lunch and no one sits next to her within 6 feet. she plays alone or stands alone. this is breaking my heart.
Zoe.6 years ago
i'm very lovely bacause i haven't friends and i want died
Manoj.6 years ago
in my house only 3 persons live. myself, my wife and my small son. he goes to a play school and after that to a creache. he is very introvert. so, he never tell to his teacher in play school even for urine. i do not know how to solve his problem. india even though second in totla population, still many childs are lonely in india.
Ann.6 years ago
i don't understand it because i think my 11 year old daughter is a very nice well balanced child yet she doesn't have many friends. in fact the ones she did have don't call or come over now that middle school is underway. in the last year she's gained 20 pounds. i am heartsick for her. she's pretty, smart and nice and i just don't get it. i am shy myself - it's painful at times. did she learn this from me or is it inherited?
donna.6 years ago
tmaree,your child that you described sounds like my 9 year old son,he used to have lots of friends but he falls out with people a lot latley especially if they have cheated at a game he bears a grudge for long time,and is too stubborn to continue he stands alone at playtimes and watched otyher children play.he took his football to school and becuase no one wanted to play he took the knockback really to heart and assumes no1 likes himbut would not join in playing tig saying t was a baby game.he is so stubborn and wont admit that he wants friends to play with at really breaks my heart to think of him at school all alone so i know how you feel.its a pity we dont live closer to each other they would make a right pair.
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