What Can You Do if Your Child Has No Friends?

Children who suffer rejection or isolation from their peers experience great suffering. In this article, you can find out the most common causes and how this kind of situation can be reversed.
What Can You Do if Your Child Has No Friends?

Last update: 03 October, 2021

Emotional independence is one of the most valuable lessons you can pass on to your children. In other words, they need to be their own emotional center and not develop harmful dependencies or attachments. However, humans are social beings and they need others. Therefore, if your child doesn’t have friends, it’s important that you identify the causes and help reverse the situation.

Friends are important agents of socialization during childhood and, especially, adolescence. Indeed, being part of a group, feeling integrated, and developing a sense of belonging are all essential for proper psychological development.

For the same reason, a child who lives in isolation, who experiences rejection or indifference from his peers, will develop serious emotional wounds. To prevent it from happening, you need to give your children personal tools that allow them to relate properly to others. In this article, we show you how to achieve it.

Why a child has no friends

There are different reasons why a child or teenager may find themselves without friends. Naturally, the cause needs to be resolved. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that this situation doesn’t have to be permanent.

Being labeled a lonely child can be extremely hurtful, especially if it’s a situation they don’t want. However, what exactly might be happening for this sequence of events to take place?

Boy with a ball without friends

Shyness

Shyness is one of the main reasons why children fail to establish friendships. In fact, some infants are born with a more inhibited temperament. This prevents them from taking the initiative. Furthermore, it causes them to be withdrawn and reticent with strangers.

For this reason, if a child doesn’t feel confident in a group, they may tend to remain silent and not interact with others. Naturally, this limits their potential of reaching out to others.

Lack of social skills

Relating to other people is an art. In fact, it’s a skill that you acquire during your early years and you continue to perfect throughout your life. If a child has a lack of social skills compared to their peer group, they may be rejected. This further delays their development in this area. The best field in which to improve social skills is the social environment itself.

Initiating conversations, respecting their turn to speak, modulating their tone of voice, listening to others, or expressing their own opinions are all challenges that children have to master, little by little. As we said, a deficit in social skills can cut short their development. This gives way to a circle of isolation and “social awkwardness” that feeds itself.

Bad past experiences

Previous experiences have a great influence on the attitude that children adopt when facing new social interactions. Therefore, if they’ve experienced situations of rejection or isolation, establishing relationships with others becomes more difficult.

The role they occupy in the family, the treatment they receive from those closest to them, and the result of previous attempts to socialize all affect their subsequent interactions to a certain extent.

Low self-esteem

Minors who haven’t managed to develop good self-esteem may feel insecure and vulnerable when it comes to bonding. In fact, feeling inadequate, flawed, or undeserving prevents them from showing themselves as they really are. Furthermore, they’re not comfortable in social settings, so their performance is never optimal.

Inappropriate attitudes

Finally, we can’t ignore the fact that there are certain attitudes that can alienate other people. Sometimes, when a child doesn’t have friends, it’s because they don’t address others with respect, empathy, or kindness. Indeed, an envious, domineering, or aggressive child will sooner or later be rejected by their environment.

Screaming child

What can you do if your child has no friends?

The keys to helping a child who has no friends derive directly from the causes that are giving rise to the situation. Thus, depending on the case, you can use some of the following measures:

  • Build your child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. It’s extremely important that they face the world with the idea that your love is unconditional. In fact, they must always feel that, no matter how many mistakes they make, you’re always there. You simply analyze their mistakes and help them to try again.
  • Work on social skills. Slowly let go of their hand in this area as well. It encourages them to interact in various contexts, not only those in which they feel totally safe. When a conflict appears, try to get them to talk about it, to put it into words. The fact of building a story of what’s happened will help them improve their intelligence on the social level. It will also give you the opportunity to intervene more accurately. If there’s no real conflict, you can pose hypothetical situations and discuss the different options that can be taken.
  • Seek professional help if necessary. If your child’s difficulties in making friends are extremely marked, they may suffer from social phobia. In this case, working with a psychologist is essential. Therapy can also help them improve their social skills and manage pain and hurt from their past negative experiences.

Ultimately, the lack of social relationships is a painful but reversible situation. Therefore, help your child to acquire the tools they need to improve their social performance and trust themselves. However, most of all, offer your understanding, support, and encouragement throughout the whole process. This will allow them to strengthen themselves and make any necessary changes.

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  • Ordóñez-Ortega, A., Espinosa-Fernández, L., García-López, L. J., & Muela-Martínez, J. A. (2013). Inhibición conductual y su relación con los trastornos de ansiedad infantil. terapia psicolÓgica31(3), 355-362.
  • Fuentes Rebollo, M. J., & Melero Zabal, M. (1992). Las amistades infantiles: desarrollo, funciones y pautas de intervención en la escuela. Revista Investigación en la Escuela, 16, 55-67.