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Saturday, January 28, 2023

My son won’t make friends this summer: how can I help him?


A wave rolls in as a group of boys and girls build a sand fort on the shore. The wave destroys the lock and they laugh. They don’t speak the same language, they’re not the same age, but the game and the smile is an international language. On the towel, not far away, a girl looks at her. The mother encourages them to participate. The father says that he will accompany her, but she is still alone with the shovel and bucket. Natalia Redondo, a consultant at Institut La Albuera in Segovia, says some children are more shy and need more time to bond; It may also happen that they do not know how to initiate this first contact. He reiterates that minors need to interact with their peers, but everyone needs time to make the journey. “They need to experience and learn social skills in horizontal relationships with people of their same status. From their peers they learn to ask, to share, to solve conflicts and to play,” says Redondo.

The girl is still in the towel, but she is looking at her very carefully. You will learn to say hello in different languages. teacher Miriam Campoy ensures peer socialization is the process through which they become socially and culturally competent. Here they define their identity. “It starts at home at birth, since family is the first factor in socialization, but it needs to be expanded over time to multiply the experiences that can enhance those relationships,” he says. Play, says Campoy, can particularly help develop socialization: “They learn to cooperate, to solve problems, and to learn about other realities.” Eventually, the girl gets up from the towel and offers the others her shovel and bucket to help rebuild the castle.

School is an ideal environment for socializing and summer is a break from routine for children. “You have to ask yourself first if the girl is more of an introvert and we adults prefer experiences where she can socialize,” says the teacher. We are social by nature, but not all of us socialize at the same pace or in the same way. “It’s also important to have healthy self-esteem to facilitate relationships,” adds Campoy. Soothing these situations means, if possible, going back every morning to meet the same boys and girls. Every day strangers become less unknown and the most shy remove layers of fear and shame when approached. teacher Ana Sanz Roura Remember that for a child aged 3 to 10, “summer friendships follow the same patterns as an adult when it comes to socializing.” He affirms that knowing about the other is not always quick, we do not all show ourselves in the same way, nor do we all analyze in the same way. That’s why he thinks that “forcing friendships” in a short amount of time, like on vacation, won’t favor little ones’ more sociable side.

“On the other hand, we must not forget that for a good socialization process it is necessary for the child to acquire knowledge about what society is and what is expected of it,” adds Sanz. Thus, if this prior work is “not well done”, acquiring behaviors typical of the process of interaction and socialization “may not be socially desirable and will not be able to avoid behaviors judged as antisocial”. This teacher recommends respecting the moment, the rhythm and the situation of each individual, since not all start from the same point: “Families should try to encourage as much as possible all those situations that offer them enriching and motivating moments that sets ahead a challenge to face the task of communicating, sharing, deciding, reaching consensus and positioning with their peers.”

Redondo compares socialization to riding a bike, something you only learn by doing. The role of families is to give them opportunities to socialize with other children, be they relatives or friends they already know, and also to put them in situations where they can meet new friends, such as B. On the beach or in the park in the afternoon. He recommends offering them models, either through stories or drawings, where they meet new people or where it’s the characters themselves who expand their friendships. “These stories are guides or mirrors of behavior that serve as a reference for their everyday lives.”

The psychologist also affirms that seeing how their attachment referents are socialized, how their own mothers or fathers interact with unfamiliar people, serves as an example and a mirror. He even invites adults to start the game to invite other children to join in and take the first step that is sometimes the hardest for them to take together.

The teacher Míriam Campoy presents the following ideas to work on conviviality day by day.

  1. Encourage them to take part in group activities such as sports or dancing. In these environments, there can be a common goal, rules that entail the need to relate and talk to each other.
  2. Take part in situations where there are more boys and girls in a relaxed environment. Parks and birthday parties are an example.
  3. Don’t force them to participate if they don’t feel ready. It can be counterproductive. Be patient and give them time to progress.
  4. Help them, accompany them and lead by example. Boys and girls mimic the behaviors they observe.
  5. It is very important not to label them as shy or introverted as there is a risk that they will act accordingly and not dare to step out of their comfort zone.

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Source elpais.com

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