Your Child and Cliques

Helping your child deal with a clique can be tough, especially when the traits that you admire in your child are the reason she is being targeted by a group of kids. If your child looks, acts, or dresses differently than others do, she may be ridiculed and deemed "not worthy" of belonging to a clique. Research has shown this can take an emotional toll. Obviously, being on the receiving end of nasty remarks can make a child feel hurt, angry, and frustrated. If a child is isolated or left out by a clique, her self-esteem may suffer, and she may feel lonely and depressed. Supportive people, such as teachers and family members, can provide comfort to a child who is being targeted or ignored by a clique. Adults may also be able to encourage kids who belong to a group not to leave others out, and to treat others with respect and kindness.

The Nemours Foundation has the following advice for kids who are dealing with being left out by a clique:

  • Find friends. There are plenty of other people outside of any particular group. Focus on these people, and hang out with kids who aren't part of a clique. Expand your horizons, and make friends with kids who are younger, older, or outside of school. Be open-minded, and don't discriminate against others just because they look or act differently. Be friendly with everyone, and let others feel welcome to talk to you.
  • Speak up. If your group of friends has suddenly turned into a clique, don't be afraid to speak up. It's okay to want to invite others to hang out. Just be prepared: The clique may move on without you.
  • Invite a friend. If you are not a part of a clique, but someone you want to be friends with is, invite her to do something with you, away from the rest of the group. This may help her realize how silly it is to be a part of an exclusive crowd.
  • Don't take it out on yourself. Some kids feel they need to change who they are to be accepted by certain people. While it is okay to make changes, such as to become healthier, make them only for yourself, and because they feel right to you. Don't change who you are to conform to other people's standards.

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