Is Elin’s daughter being excluded by her friends? We explore how she can help in this week’s A Problem Shared…
Since the start of the summer my daughter, who is 14, has done nothing but stare at her phone.
She usually loves going out in the sunshine but in the last few months she hasn’t gone out with any of her friends. She just looks at Facebook and Instagram and seems to get really upset. I’ve asked her what is wrong but she refused to talk to me about it.
During half-term some of her friends went on holiday with the family of one of the girls, and my daughter couldn’t go. I think the problem might be that these girls are now leaving my daughter out and posting photos of themselves spending time together without her, but I’m just not sure.
How to do I find out what the problem is and help my daughter and make her feel better?
Our FamilyPoint advice to Elin
Thank you for getting in touch with us about your daughter. It sounds like she’s going through a tough time at the moment.
It’s great that you’re exploring ways of encouraging her to open up about it and helping her to feel better. From what you’ve described, it does sound like your daughter is being excluded from her friends’ activities at the moment.
For teens, friendship groups and feeling a sense of belonging are really important, so when friendships go wrong or end, it can feel devastating for them. Social media, such as Facebook, can add to the misery. For instance when the child or young person is able to see their friends enjoying activities without them. Leaving someone out of social events can be seen as ‘bullying by exclusion’. If this is the case here, supporting your daughter to work through this will help to build her resilience. It can also give her the ability to deal with difficulties in her life.
You asked how you can find out what the problem is – a great way to encourage young people to share how they’re feeling is to spend time together doing something new or different to the norm. This can include things such as going for a long walk, doing a sports activity together, or eating out. The focus on the activity takes away the pressure to share. This can also help them to relax and even forget about their sadness for a while. A gentle reminder to your daughter that you’re there for her if she wants to talk will help her to feel supported and loved, even if she doesn’t immediately take you up on the offer.
“Friendships go through changes…”
Children and young people’s friendships go through many changes, and losing old friends, even if only for a short time, can feel very painful. Becoming involved in new activities or interests can help distract them from what’s making them sad and lead to them meeting and making new friends. You could ask your daughter, perhaps when you’re out together, if there are things she’d like to try out or do more of, such as sport, clubs, dance classes for example. Her confidence may have taken a knock of late, so trying out new things could be a good way of rebuilding her self-esteem.
If your daughter does share what’s happened between her and her friends, it’s important to listen and also to avoid offering advice. Instead help her to work out what she wants to do.
Helplines and articles
I’ve listed below a couple of helplines and articles that you and your daughter too might find helpful:
- Meic is the helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 years in Wales. It is a free, confidential and non-judgemental service which aims to encourage young people to resolve difficulties or make changes in their lives.
- The Huffington Post: 9 Strategies to Help Kids Cope With Social Exclusion and Friendship Breakups
- Parenting Support Centre: Teenager’s Friendships – Falling out with Friends
- The Guardian: Schools must take account of girls’ precarious friendships
- The Mix: Why do my friends keep leaving me out?
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via:
Phone 0300 222 57 57
Text 07860 052 905
We are open Monday – Thursday 6pm – 10pm and Friday & Saturday 10am – 2pm.
A Problem Shared… is your space to share both your problems and your advice with the FamilyPoint community.
Check out our recent ‘A Problem Shared…’ posts for more family advice:
- She’s Lost Her Confidence
- My Young Daughter Is Pregnant
- Term-Time Holiday?
- My Son Deserves A Better Dad
- Postnatal Depression