In their younger years, they were inseparable. They begged for playdates, planned out sleepovers, coordinated afterschool activities, and just seemed to find genuine joy in each other’s company. It was a match made in heaven, you observed, and you felt so lucky that your child had found such a positive friendship so early on in life.
Then, things changed. Seemingly overnight. One day, you are cajoling your tween to take a break from her three hour texting marathon with her bestie, and the next you notice that her cell phone suddenly sounds like radio silence.
Your daughter is devastated by this abrupt cut-off. You watch as she desperately tries to figure out why her friend has stopped responding to texts and how come none of the kids at her lunch table will talk to her anymore. But she can’t seem to glean any understanding of the cause. She only knows with certainty that nothing is the same.
What can you do for your child when he or she is on the receiving end of a sudden deep freeze from former friends?
1. Make Time (first and foremost!).
When kids are little, many parents are diligent about establishing a schedule — feeding times, naptimes, bath times, and bedtimes are all guided by the clock and directed by an adult. By the tween and teen years, however, young people are exercising developmentally appropriate behavior when they exert control over their own schedules. Too often, however, this control manifests itself in the frustrating fact that kids don’t want to talk to their parents at traditionally-scheduled times of the day.
In fact, chances are excellent that when you first see your child after school and ask him about his day, his answer will be a simple “Fine,” no matter how terrible, horrible, or very bad the day may actually have been. And at the dinner table when you inquire about your daughter’s school… or friends… or whatever you think might engage her… she offers an equally unimpressive mono-syllabic answer.