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My 9-Year-Old Daughter Is Having Problems Getting Along With Her Friends

by Candice Coleman, studioD

In an ideal world, children would openly discuss problems and resolve anger and resentment. In the real world, though, hurt feelings and misunderstandings often stay hidden, creating problems between youngsters that can be a toxic source of stress. It's vital for your daughter to learn how to handle disagreements, and as a parent, you'll have to guide her through problem-solving techniques so that she can get back to enjoying her friendships.

Talk to your daughter about the problems she is having with her friends. Do these problems frequently involve the same issues? If your daughter and her friends fight about their interests, hobbies, other friends or beliefs, the conflict may be because the girls have grown apart, according to KidsHealth.org, a child-development website. In that case, your daughter may be better off looking for friendship with people whose interests more closely match hers.

Encourage your daughter to calmly approach her friends to figure out a solution. Rather than arguing or throwing accusations at a friend, she may get better results by saying, "I feel hurt when you call me names, because I don't know why we can't be nice to each other," according to It's My Life, a website from PBS Kids. If the conversation gets heated, your daughter can say, "I think we should talk about this later when we calm down," and then walk away.

Approach the other child's parents if discussion alone is not enough to help the children get along. There may be another side to the story. Keep calm and stick to the facts you know when discussing these problems. Parents should be respectful and avoid criticizing the other children, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns. Ask what the other parents know to get to the bottom of the problem.

Advise your daughter to apologize if she has done something to hurt or offend her friends. Her apology should be sincere and reflect a desire to change her behavior in the future, according to KidsHealth.org. Your daughter might say to her friends, "I'm sorry that I called you a name the other day. It was wrong and I don't feel good about it. If I'm upset about something in the future, I'll talk to you instead of saying mean things." This resolution may be enough to help your daughter and her friends enjoy the time they spend with one another again.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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