Starting around grade 3, as boys and girls begin to develop interests and notice similarities and differences between themselves and others, stronger friendships begin to grow. On the flip side, exclusivity and unkind statements begin to be thrown around as an attempt to understand the changing social dynamics.
A common problem is, “I want to play with aa, but I (cc) don’t like bb and bb is friends with aa. What should I do?” And, most often the solution they come up with is to be unkind to bb and exclude them from games and conversations.
It is important to remember, when helping your child in a situation like this, that if your child is bb or cc, both are feeling extremely vulnerable. They want to protect their friendship with aa, and feel liked and apart of the group. They need to be reminded that they can be friends with aa, and should also try to find things about bb or cc that they like so all can be feeling comfortable and liked as a group.
If your child is aa, encourage them to tell bb and cc they like spending time with them both and would like to find a way for all to play together. And, if possible, encourage them to find dd!
Attached is a nice article from a parent’s perspective when she realized her daughter was excluding another.