Your child has hopefully settled in after heading back to school.
They were no doubt excited to see friends and have possibly made new ones.
But you may have had the dreaded playground squabble and are not quite sure how to deal with the fallout.
Relax (a bit): it’s normal
Children fall out (and in again) fairly quickly. It is part of children learning how to communicate and deal with differences.
Reassure, hug and listen
Your child might feel as if their world is collapsing. Give hugs, provide shoulders to cry on and support them in managing their emotions.
Help them to help themselves
Encourage your child to think through what they could do to resolve the situation. If there’s been a misunderstanding, how could they try to explain? If the other child is consistently mean to them, who else could they play with instead? Supporting them to come up with their own solutions is great for encouraging problem solving and building their resilience.
Resist the temptation to wade in
Parental instincts might urge you to sort the problem but wait to see if everything settles by itself.
Confronting the other child isn’t fair or appropriate and your child will probably find it embarrassing.
It’s also important to encourage children to problem solve for themselves to develop independence.
Proceed with caution with the other parents
Many parents struggle to accept their offspring have done anything wrong. The children are likely to make up before the week is out which will potentially leave an awkward feud between the parents.
If the other child’s parents confront you it is sensible to suggest ‘let’s leave the children to sort it out’, or similar.
If you feel the incident was serious and the school needs to get involved, perhaps say that you would rather the school dealt with it.
When to speak to the teacher...
If the dispute involved physical violence, becomes persistent, and/ or your child doesn’t want to go to school or is having trouble sleeping, then it’s time to raise it with their teacher.
They can then keep a closer eye on the children, intervening if necessary.
Community Family Care, based at Staunton, Gloucestershire helps families, children and young people in need of additional support.
Click here to download PDF of this article.