When children’s friendships go sour

Something we as parents will go through one day or some of you already have is when your children have a falling out with their best friends. I know how awkward it can be especially when they have become close to your family as well.

Do you get involved, do you ignore the fight and let them sort it out themselves – what do you do as a parent? When your child’s feelings are hurt, of course you want to protect him or her but where do you draw the line? When the kids are still young I think that it’s manageable but when they are teenagers that’s where it starts getting tricky.

I once had a falling out with a friend and I remember once greeting her mother and she just ignored me and looked the other way. I was shocked at her behaviour because I never expected her to be part of this fallout but clearly she was. I thought that was a bit foolish for her mother to behave like that, we later reconciled and she was now fine with me but really is that how an adult is supposed to behave?

Now that I’m a mother I think I would only react when his life is in danger but the petty gossip between friends is something I would not bother myself with. In all friendships there are moments like that when two people have fallout and my hope would be that they work out their problems amicably.

With teenagers it can get nasty and ugly and you might want to step in but I think it is best to find out the problem first and be there to listen to him and let him know that you are there for support. He could also be learning conflict resolution skills, you can’t be there all the time and at some point conflicts will happen.

Don’t ignore bullying

My son would sometimes come home crying, hurt and upset about something done by one of his friends and I would try not to get involved unless it is bullying behaviour – which I do not tolerate at all. I once got involved when one of the older kids victimised him. I had to step in as incident after incident was being reported from the same boy and I did not take much notice at first until my son came home bleeding after this boy “accidentally” hit him with a stick. Let’s just say that boy will not be touching my son again and NO, there was nothing physical from my side but the warning was clear – you do not touch my son again.

In cases like those, and cyber bullying of course, you step in because we have seen the end results like suicide. In some cases it could be your child being the instigator of this conflict but if you are always the hands on type of a parent you will never get to see the weak points of your own child and might be creating a monster who thinks he is never wrong. To get involved or not to get involved, not an easy one?

Read more by Masanda Peter

Do you get involved in your kids' relationships?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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