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What to Do About Kids Excluding Other Kids

by Erica Loop

Whether your child wasn't invited to her classmate's birthday party, the other kids won't let her into their after-school soccer games or she is the one who is saying "no" to her peers, kids excluding other kids is a social issue that many families face. Instead of letting it go and ignoring the offending behaviors, take a stance and help your child learn how to handle these types of circumstances.

Cliques

While friendships are key to your child's healthy development, cliques are social groups that often come with negative consequences, according KidsHealth. Unlike a true group of friends, cliques are more about excluding other kids than they are about sharing social bonds. Cliques typically set their own rules for joining and will routinely reject or isolate kids who don't fit their ideals. The popular boys in middle school might exclude a child who doesn't wear the right clothes, play sports or have pretty girlfriends. If your child is feeling excluded at school because of clique activity, start a conversation with him that focuses on your own experiences in childhood and remind him that his true friends won't disregard him for silly issues such as not having what they consider a cool haircut.

Out of School Friends

Sometimes, despite your efforts, you can't stop your child from feeling excluded at school. Don't, however, give up on the idea of her having a fuller social life. Some kids might not find a group of schoolmates hey fit in with or share interests with. Instead of pushing your child to become friends with kids who she doesn't like, help her find friends outside of school. Enroll her in a class or find a community group that focuses on her interests. Meeting kids who have the same hobbies and likes can help her feel more included and give her the opportunity to make friends that accept her for who she is. If your child has a flare for drama, sign her up for a class at the community theater company.

Involve School Staff

If you feel ill-equipped to handle your child's peer problems, get help from school staff. When kids are excluding your child during school times, take the issue to his teacher or the principal. The American Academy of Pediatrics, on its Healthy Children website, suggests parents set up a meeting with the teacher and other school staff -- such as the guidance counselor -- to come up with a solution to the exclusion problem. The educators have seen this type of behavior before and might have strategies to try out that you haven't thought of. Additionally, the teacher can keep an eye on your child, and the other kids, and has the power to stop any potentially mean or excluding actions.

When Your Child Excludes

If you find out through other parents or the teacher that your child is the one excluding other kids, you must intervene. Even if your child acts as though she is on top of the world because the entire class ranks her as the most popular girl, sit her down for an open discussion about friendships, feelings and other kids. Remind her of a time when someone else made her feel isolated or excluded, and ask her to think of how that made her feel. Encourage her to develop empathy by having her take other kids' feelings into consideration when she acts in social settings.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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