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Friendship Issues

You're not my friend anymore

Girls excluding a friend

Kids can be little xxxx. Do you remember when you were a child? Do you remember those who were your friends and those who were not. How about friends you had that you had a falling out with. Did you become friends or never speak again?

It’s all very familiar and it’s a situation we’ve all been in. At some point at school someone said to you, ‘You’re not my friend anymore.’ Or maybe you said it to someone else. It’s a horrible feeling and it happens a lot. But how can a single dad comfort and navigate their children through this tricky ride?

group of friends leaving school

Everybody needs a friend

Having friends plays a crucial role in the social and emotional development of children. It serves as a foundation for their growth, self-esteem, and overall well-being. However, children often encounter various friendship issues that can impact their happiness and sense of belonging.

There are a few reasons and why children run into friendship issues that are not necessarily within their control. They may not even know they have actually done anything to upset a friend or friend group.

This is can lead to rejection and exclusion, of social groups or activities due to differences in appearance, interests, skills, or social status.

girl covering her face with hands

It’s quite normal

Children will have conflicts and disagreements with their friends, often over trivial matters that can lead to strained relationships. Differences in opinions, misunderstandings, jealousy or competition can trigger conflicts. Just go to a Kindergarten Sports Day and you’ll see what I mean!

Bullying itself can rear its ugly head if a friendship becomes even more strained. For a more detailed article on bullying click here.

Not giving in to peer pressure could make your child be ejected from a group and they may try to resolve this by succumbing to negative influences from friends, feeling pressured to engage in risky behaviours or make poor choices. Peer pressure can undermine their autonomy and values, leading to adverse consequences.

children looking sad

But what’s the root of the problem?

There are a range of underlying causes that can lead to these these situations.

Developmental Factors

  • Children's social and emotional skills are still developing, impacting their ability to navigate and maintain healthy friendships.

  • Limited empathy, communication skills, and impulse control can contribute to friendship issues.

Individual Differences

  • Differences in temperament, personality, interests, and cultural backgrounds can affect friendship dynamics.

  • Some children may find it challenging to relate to others or adapt to social norms, leading to conflicts.

Environmental Factors

  • Home environment, parenting styles, and family dynamics can influence children's social skills and interactions.

  • Exposure to violence, neglect, or inconsistent relationships may hinder the development of healthy friendships.


Regardless of the cause, there are consequences of such friendship issues your child has to deal with. The emotional impact can lead to feelings of loneliness, sadness, anxiety, or low self-esteem. If prolonged this distress may result in mental health issues such as depression or social anxiety

Furthermore this emotional toll can cause their academic performance to take a hit as these issues can disrupt you child’s ability to focus on learning through concentration and motivation.

Persistent friendship issues during childhood can have lasting effects on social skills and relationships in adulthood. It may contribute to difficulties in establishing trust, forming intimate relationships, and maintaining healthy friendships.

Father and son on a jetty

How to manage

There are a range of strategies the single dad can use to help your child deal with friendship issues:

  • Establish effective communication and encourage them to express their feelings, needs, and concerns openly and assertively.

  • Teach active listening skills to promote understanding and empathy among friends.

  • Teach conflict resolution skills like problem-solving strategies, negotiation, compromise, and perspective-taking.

  • Mediation by adults and teachers may be required to help resolve conflicts and restore friendships.

  • Foster an inclusive environment that values diversity and encourages acceptance of differences.

  • Provide opportunities for your child to practice social skills through role-playing, cooperative games, or group activities.

  • Teach empathy, emotional regulation, and effective communication techniques.

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