Overcoming Problems With a Clique at School
Being accepted by one’s peers is very important for children and especially for teens. Teens find friends among their peers and are still developing a sense of self; without friends they may suffer from loneliness and low self-esteem, and may be a target of ridicule and rejection simply because they don’t fit in and have friends.
As important as friends are to a teen, unfortunately many teens deal with cliques that ostracize them and even seem to go out of their way to ensure that they don’t have friends and aren’t accepted. Teens without friends can be bullied and may feel as if they have no one that understands or cares about them. If this sounds like you or your child, what can you do?
One thing to remember about cliques at school is that they often come and go, and kids who are standoffish today may become your friend in a month. Teenagers especially are very fickle with their feelings and may themselves get tired of certain cliques. If your teen is suffering from being without many friends right now, remind them that this isn’t how all of school is going to be for years, and be patient.
It’s also good to remind your teen that they shouldn’t get overly concerned about trying to join or be a part of cliques. If there are groups that purposely ostracize others, these are not the types of groups you want to be a part of when growing up. Groups like this are very hurtful and they shouldn’t be envied by anyone. It’s better to make friends with those who treat other people properly than it is to be jealous or envious of cliques that ignore other people.
Making other friends is often easier said than done, but it’s an important step for teens. They can make friends with those who are also excluded from a clique, or they can get involved in school activities that will help them to meet new friends. Suggest a sport they might try, or a musical instrument they might learn, or ask if they want to get involved with theater or another one of the arts. They might also make friends outside of school, if you’re part of a church or other religious organization. Take them to do volunteer work or to meetings with other families. These things can help them to meet new people and to make new friends so they don’t feel so left out.
School has its ups and down and cliques can be difficult to deal with, but the entire experience is only temporary. If your child struggles to fit in, keep reminding them that they can make friends elsewhere and that they are sure to have lots of friends when they become adults.