How to help a child who is not accepted in the team, says a child clinical psychologist.

If the child is not friends with anyone: when the help of a psychologist is needed, and when he should be left alone

Before solving the problems and difficulties faced by a teenager, parents themselves should remember what they were like at that age. And, relying on these feelings, to feel what is happening with the child. 

The nuances of child psychology

Adolescence is a time when peers are very influential. It is so strong that there is a risk of not fitting into any group. For example, there are children who often go to parties. If your child does not maintain this "tradition", there is a possibility that he will be expelled because he feels different.

Exclusion from society for some reason creates a cold, sticky feeling of loneliness. In this state, the teenager is even more important than at normal times, the warmth and care of parents.

When there is no acceptance from loved ones, when communication is lacking, children choose for themselves interests that they can do on their own, for example, they immerse themselves in reading, studying, computer games . The deeper the child goes into loneliness, the more the difficulty in communication increases. It accumulates like a snowball, and there is a feeling that you need to look attractive in other people's eyes in order to deserve at least some attention.

Such children, sometimes, are known as liars at school. To fit into the group, they have to tell some incredible stories. When the lie comes to the surface, the collective doesn't like it and rejects the child even more.

The constant feeling that you are insufficient creates increased anxiety, expectation of criticism. Even if it happens in a simple and comfortable format, a teenager may not be able to withstand it.

Where to begin

The first thing parents need to do is to surround the teenager with love and accept him as he is: with deuces, red hair, some kind of illness and difficulties in communication.

When a child comes to share his loneliness, it is important not to discount his feelings. Separate them: “Yes, dear, this is really very hard. It hurts. I'm with you, I'll always be there." Do not say phrases like: “Yes, nonsense, you will still have friends! They don't understand anything..."

It is necessary to cultivate the feeling that it is enough to love a child just like that. He doesn't need to be perfect or different. It is already unique in that it exists, and this uniqueness should be gently and carefully developed.

What caused

Against the background of such acceptance, you can talk and help. The direction of the conversation will depend on what caused the difficulty.

1. Recent change of residence or school

If the child is not yet able to make new friends, talk to the class teacher, parents of other children and ask to accept the teenager in various school and extracurricular activities. Through other adults, you can help him integrate into the new environment.

2. Unrealistic expectations or high friendship requirements

For example, a child thinks that the other person will always support him, or listen to his long stories, or will never be offended, or will be ready to take a walk at any moment. Parents need to talk about what friendship is, what it might look like. Make it clear that a friend is a living person with their own vulnerabilities and needs. 

3. The child's isolation and the feeling that he is constantly silent

It is important to help your teenager develop communication skills. For example, make together a list of situations in which communication does not work. If your child is having a hard time starting a conversation, offer suggestions on how to do so and rehearse them in a safe environment. It is necessary to show that the reaction of the interlocutor may be different, but it only reflects the state of the other person and is not a reason for self-esteem.

Offer the child stories that he can tell in a group. Help make them more saturated, add emotions, details, or, conversely, reduce their number. So you will ensure the safety of the teenager in the conversation. When there are 2-3 topics in stock, it is easier to join the conversation or initiate it.

4. Deviations in development, unusual appearance and other differences

It is necessary to help the teenager find a company where he will be accepted. It can be a therapy group or a special class where there are inclusive teachers, and a child with special needs will be accepted and not ridiculed.

Parents can come to a meeting at school and, with the permission of the child, talk about some moment of his life, a symptom, in order to help the children find a common language with him. This is necessary because children are often afraid of what they do not know.

5. Aggression

It happens. Adolescents are trying to find contact with themselves, and it happens that aggression, not expressed in childhood, begins to seethe like a bowler hat, in which everything spills out.

Explain to the child that it is not he who is bad, but his behavior, and it hurts others. Share emotion and personality. If a child expresses itself through violence, it means that he has not found another way to express what is inside. And adults should help him with this.

Many children understand that aggression is destructive, but do not know what to do with it. Invite your child to draw her, dance to loud music, crush the clay to relieve tension and give emotions an outlet. Go through the repertoire of other reactions with him. When a teenager talks about a situation, as if put it on pause and draw a flowchart, how you can react: hit, keep silent, joke back, leave ... Then he will have an internal choice.

There is a special technique of slowing down, when the child is asked to beat the pillow, and then slow down the movements so that the body has time to feel the reaction. Sports and physical activity help a lot. But it is important to understand the underlying causes of aggression. 

6. Negative past experience

If a child faced bullying at a previous school, it will not be easy for him at a new school, as there is a trauma of rejection. You need to learn to trust people again, and this is not an easy process, you may need the help of a psychologist. In this case, it is important for parents to say that this is a different team, and that everything can be different here. 

7. Cultivation inside the child by parents that he is not like everyone else

"You are my baby bird and the rest are fools." With such phrases, an adult broadcasts, on purpose or unconsciously, that his child is exceptional. For example, if a teenager comes and says that he has no friends, dad or mom can say: “They don’t understand anything and will regret that they are not friends with you, and let them not be friends, but you have us.”

Such a reaction prevents children from fitting into the team. It is better to show the child that he can become part of the group: “Look, the guys here are of the same age” or “Everyone here loves biology, just like you.”

8. Fatigue, emotional stress

A teenager in the modern world may have neither time nor energy left for friends, high-quality communication. The desire for communication may be there, but because of fatigue, it has to be short-lived, for example, as in social networks.

Review your child's schedule. Think about what he can be freed from in order to unload, especially if he himself feels that now there is too much of everything in life.

How else can you help

  • Invite your child to look at this list of reasons and see what resonates with them and why they are not accepted. Imagine together what will happen after the worst happens, for example, they will laugh at him. After each answer, ask the question: “And then?” So that the child understands that life does not end there. 
  • Sometimes children compensate for difficulties in communication. For example, a child can support topics, actions taken in the company, even if they do not suit him. It's depressing because he can't be himself. Explain that this is a very fragile foundation and can be easily destroyed. Offer to visit a new circle , where no one knows the teenager, and he can try to prove himself.
  • Try setting small, specific goals with your child. For example, "Let's go to a new group today and you'll just hang out with two guys." A clear goal reduces anxiety for the brain.
  • Be on the child's side. Tell me how you made friends. You can ask your loved ones, teachers to talk about this topic, since a teenager does not yet understand how to be with himself and communicate with other people.
And remember: you can only throw a thing, and you and your child are individuals. If communication does not add up, it can always be solved.