Many children who are part of a group of three friends seem to be having issues of being left out. It is always the child who feels left out that comes to see me as the other two children are just fine. Why?
Because one of them tends to be the leader, the other is the follower or the other two just get on better. Two of them may have more in common and like the same things. There are also alliances when it comes to one friend saying something that another does not agree with. That can feel like the two friends are ganging up on you. The only time the left out child feels happy is when one of the others is off sick and they get the other child all to themselves.
It is so tricky being in a three. Can your child avoid a friendship group of three? If not, help them with some strategies to deal with the dynamic of groups of three.
What advice can we give children in a friendship group of three?
- If they don’t want to play what the others are doing can they suggest another activity?
- Can they make sure that they are including the other two to show them that they all need to be inclusive?
- Is there someone else they could play with sometimes to mix things up at break time? What other friends do they have?
- Can they suggest to the other that they join another group to make the game bigger?
- Can they accept that sometimes the dynamics change and that in the past they have been friendlier with one of the other children but right now the other two are closer?
Some children can survive being in a three because they are resilient and they all understand each other well. The shift in being close, then not being as close does not affect them. This is because they have high self-esteem and do not take it personally.
Of course it is another thing if the other two friends are trying to get the third out of the way by not including them. If this is the case maybe it is time to find other people to be with at the same time as working with them on their self-esteem.
Has your child experienced trouble in three’s? How did they/you deal with it and what advice did you give them? I’d love to hear your experiences – please leave a comment on this blog or via my social media channels.