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Ages & Stages

Problems With Peers

Many difficulties can arise at school that will require your intervention. One of the most common is when a child feels rejected by classmates.

If your youngster comes home upset and crying that "everyone is being mean to me at recess and in the cafeteria," keep in mind that at some time most children have conflicts with their friends and end up feeling pushed away. Parental reassurance can comfort these youngsters until things return to normal at school.

However, if a pattern of rejection exists, let your child know that you are sen­sitive to how difficult this situation is for him, and that you are going to help him figure out ways to make things better. Give him a clear message that you are on his side and are going to help.

Rejection by a child's peers may be a group reaction to someone they see as different. It may also result from inappropriate behavior on the part of both parties and need to be modified.

Ask your child for more facts about the situation. Schedule an appointment with his teacher. Consider requesting that the principal or guidance counselor attend the meeting. Have them obtain information from the recess and lunch aides about what is happening.

Last Updated
Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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