Supporting Parents. Fostering Change.

Monthly Archives: September 2011

As a parent, you want your kids to get good grades. But you also want them to be happy, to have friends, and to enjoy going to school each day.

Making friends is an important part of your child’s school experience and may even have an impact on her grades. If your child has found a niche in her classroom’s social scene, she’s more likely to do well academically.

Children with that sense of belonging are not feeling threatened, and they are more likely to be able to focus and feel comfortable at school.

For some children, making friends comes naturally from a young age. Others struggle to fit in. Even kids who usually make friends easily can hit a rough patch when they change schools, are assigned to a different class than their best friend, or get into an argument.

Just about every child struggles socially at some time and in some way.

Here are some steps for helping a child through a difficult social time:

  1. Empathize, but don’t overreact.
    Your son may say he “hates Chris’ guts” one day but be back sitting next to him in the cafeteria the next day. Don’t rush to try to solve your child’s problem. Just listen and give an extra hug.
  2. Get the facts.
    Kids, by definition, lack perspective. They may be teased by one person and feel everyone is picking on them. Remind your child that disagreements are a normal part of friendships.
  3. Respect your child’s personality.
    If your child doesn’t want to be the life of the party, that’s OK. This revelation can be hard for a parent who is more of a social butterfly.

Continue reading “Shy, quiet, anxious??? Is your child being described with these words?”

Posted in Anxiety in Children, School Anxiety | Comments off

I knew it was a matter of time. My 11 year old wasn’t just asking for her own Facebook account, she’s lobbying for one. Her arguments were the standard ones: 1. “ALL of my friends have had Facebook accounts FOR YEARS.” 2. “If I don’t have a Facebook account, I will lose all of my friends.” 3. “If you don’t let me have one, I won’t be able to fully benefit from the computer like other kids.”

There is no doubt that the internet, and social media in particular has had a huge impact on the social and emotional development of children and teens.

At In Step, I see children who struggle with the negative consequences of social networking (i.e. cyberbullying, identity fraud, and scamming), but I also see children who would be completely socially isolated without the internet. Ten or fifteen years ago, these are the children that had virtually no social exposure outside of school. Now, they have the opportunity to make connections and develop social competencies online.

There is much to consider in weighing the pros and cons of allowing an 11 year old to have her own Facebook account. Ultimately, we decided against condoning it. We had many reasons, but the most important for us was that Facebook does not authorize anyone under the age of 13 to sign up. How can I explain to my 11 year old that it’s OK to lie about her age? Just because “all of her friends are doing it”?

Continue reading “No LOL Matter, Balancing Safety with Social Media Access”

Posted in Social Media and Children | Comments off