In my coaching practice, I am seeing two different types of friendship issues with children at the moment. Both are linked to a lack of fluidity in making friends and creating social groups at different stages of development.
One of the issues is children who have just started year 7 and are trying to make new friends, but not being fluid enough with their friendships. They are sticking with the first friends they make and not talking to enough people or getting to know others. Hence, they possibly aren’t getting to meet the right friends or friendship group for them.
The other problem is year 9 children not being able to let go of old friendships because they are not right for them anymore. As teens they are changing – their focus, the way they learn, how they want to hang out etc. But it can be hard to admit that they’ve grown apart from old friends, and even harder to make the break away from them.
Fluidity = Change & Flow
Fluidity is needed in both situations – friends in year 7 will not always be the same friends as in year 9. Children in year 7 need to be able to move around their peers seeking out who is like them and finding those they have things in common with. Who can they trust, have fun or share interests with?
There’s no need to commit to one person or one group of people but keep on talking and engaging throughout the first term at least. Their friendship group will form over the coming months but some fluidity needs to remain. One child may leave the group and one may join for example.
The older children will be come more settled in their friendships in year 9 and this is another time I would say where acceptance of fluidity is needed. I have seen many friendship group changes where a completely new group has formed or a larger group has split into two as a result of a fallout or preference to be with other people. Some children have even gone back to the friends they made in year 7. Friendship groups will adjust and change but I would say by the middle of year 9 they are pretty much concrete.
Help your child whichever year group they are in, to be more fluid and go with the flow.