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july 2010
Lone Wolf
Farrah Chinoy
As Children grow up, they find it harder to make friends and keep them. Their young personality changes from being carefree and happy-go-lucky to be being pressured to be socially acceptable.

They begin to feel peer pressure and often lose the friends they made when younger, to fall into a more acceptable crowd - the distinction begins to form which will follow them around for the rest of their lives.

Are you worrying that your child might be a loner and it’s not just a phase but a personality altering behaviour? Well then don’t just sit there worrying, save your child from walking down the dreaded path to loneliness by taking these simple measures.

Encourage Healthy Friendship
Take time to point out what makes a good friend, as well as how to be a good friend to someone else. Be sure your child understands that gossiping about a friend isn’t very friendly. Point out what you like about his/her friends. You could say, “I like how your friends call you when you’re sick to see how you’re doing,” etc.

Help Her Make Friends
Children don't always understand that their behaviour may be turning potential friends away. Ask your child if she is approachable to others. Does she smile and greet them when she first sees them at school? Does she respect other people's opinions and talents, or resents them for being different from her or for having abilities she doesn’t?

Encourage Diversity
Social groupings are just a part of life but make sure your child understands that they don’t have to belong to a certain clique to be happy. Encourage your child to make friends with amiable children who may share similar interests, or are just nice to be around. In other words, your child’s friends don’t have to come from just one social group, in fact, they shouldn’t.

Be a Good Listener
Listen to your child talk about school, the bus, sports, or parties. Attentive listening will provide you with a lot of information about your child’s friends and their behaviour. Take quick action if you suspect negative behaviours are taking place.

If a friend turns out to be an enemy
Help your child focus on other friends as much as possible. If the friendship ends, keep your child active so he/she doesn’t dwell on the lost friendship too much. Explain that sometimes friends don’t last, but that there are always good friends waiting to be discovered.

Encourage Self Expression
You want your child to enjoy healthy friendships, but you also want them to have a mind of their own. Teach your child that sometimes friends can disagree, or have different interests, beliefs, or tastes in clothing, music, and hobbies. Encourage your child to seek her own path, and give them the confidence to say “no” to a friend who’s trying to lead them down the wrong path.

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