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Friends at School

Has a friend been giving your child a hard time at school? Here's what your child should do.

Does your child come home from school upset? A surprising number of parents haven't noticed. Children are far better at masking their feelings than we realise - or than even their friends realise. So when Mamta teases your daughter Puja, it is possible that Mamta doesn't realise how much she is hurting your daughter. She may just be teasing Puja in the spirit of fun. But what she doesn't realise, is what seems funny to her, is not funny for Puja.

Confront the friend

Encourage your child to speak to the friend who has been teasing her, about her feelings in private, and preferably in person - not over the phone. Puja should let her know that she feels bad when Mamta teases and makes fun of her in front of everyone else. Friends are supposed to stick up for each other, and not pull each other down. She can let Mamta know, in her own way, that she expects her friends to be on her side and be there for her, just like she would be there for them.

Chances are, Mamta will realise that she's not been fair to Puja, and will stop teasing her. They may even become the best of friends after this. Often, when we tease someone, we don't do it with intent to hurt the person, but we just get carried away in the moment. Kids are pretty much the same.

If this doesn't work, find new friends

If your child's friend does not stop teasing her even after this, then it's time for your child to drop her as a friend. Encourage her to make new friends by inviting children her age over to your house. Help them break the ice by getting them started on a few good games, or even by putting on a fun kids movie for them to watch together.

Expose her to other children

As she gets exposed to other children, she will stop being dependent on her existing social circle and will be less likely to tolerate being treated poorly by others.

Retain a balance

Parents tend to get upset when their child is being unduly teased or excluded. However, remember that children are resilient, and enough love from their parents will help them get through rough patches. The phrase "Kids have it so easy," is far from the truth. Along with childhood comes a host of other problems that may seem little to you, just like job-related problems may seem little to a person with health-related issues. It's all relative. Don't make light of your child's problems, but at the same time, don't take them to your heart, get very upset or try and solve the problem yourself. Instead, provide your child with the tools to resolve her issues on her own, and look at each setback as a chance for teaching her something. It is these lessons that equip your child to deal with the world as an adult, when the stakes are a lot higher.

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