Helping Your Kids Through Fights with Friends

by on February 14th, 2011
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Every friendship has its ups and downs. As an adult, you have likely been through more than a few fights and arguments with friends. You’ve dealt with the pain of losing friends and the heartache that comes when friends simply grow apart. While growing apart often happens over a longer period of time and adjustments are easier to make, fighting with friends can be more emotional and dramatic.

While you’ve been through these fights with friends more than a time or two, it can still be quite emotional to you as a parent to watch your kids fight with their little friends, too. As a parent, you want to do what you can to heal the relationship and get the two friends back on track. Now, sometimes you really do just want to sit back and let things unfold as they may. Keep in mind that most people have dozens and dozens of friendships that come and go throughout a lifetime, and so this is a natural part of life that your kids are experiencing.

That being said, you don’t want to just let a good friendship fall to the wayside. If you think one of your child’s friendships may benefit from a bit of parental interference, here are some ideas to help you get your child and his or her friend back on track:

Plan a Sleepover. If you think the two friends may benefit from a little one and one time without the interference of their other friends, why not plan a sleepover? It’s easy to get “clique-ish” in a big group, but friends who have enjoyed each other’s company for years can re-establish a bond by spending a little bit of time together.

Through the Other Person’s Eyes. As a parent, you no doubt are seeing the argument through the eyes of your child. You are hearing one side of the story only. Take some time to try to see the argument through the eyes of the friend. You know your child and know how he or she argues, fights, and generally behaves. If you spot something that may be triggering the friend’s response, point it out to your child.

Talk to the Parent. Oftentimes, when two children have been friends for awhile, the parents also have grown close, too. If you feel comfortable talking about the tiff your two kids are having, why not bring it up? You can broach the subject by saying your child has been sad about the argument and ask what the other parent has heard from his or her child about the argument. From there, you can decide if you should let them hash it out together, give them time to cool off, or schedule some time to get together.

While it’s understandable that you want to help, keep in mind that this is a relationship between two people – your child and his or her friend. You cannot “fix” the relationship. The two kids will need to come together to work it out or the friendship may be one of those that falls to the wayside. You can use the above strategies to see if there is any life left in the friendship, but understand that you don’t want to try too hard because it really is something that is beyond your control ultimately.

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