Does your child feel isolated and excluded from his peers? Or is he or she becoming a people pleaser? Get tips from our experts on how you can support students to gain the right kind of popularity for their holistic happiness.
In our GoStudent expert talks we speak to experts in the field of education! Find out more on real-life insights from leaders in the ed-industry. 🚀
Whether students are extroverts, introverts or the breed-in-between, the need for a certain degree of popularity is crucial for them. As recent research shows that it is friends, and not family or romantic partners that determine one’s happiness in life. 😃
So for their present and future mental wellbeing, students need to cultivate deep friendships. At GoStudent we simply see popularity as one of the ways students can kickstart this process.
Though what does popular mean in school? 🤔
The parameters of popularity varys amongst different age and socio-cultural groups. Recent research in England, Sweden and the Netherlands also links popularity in school to age position in class!
So how to become popular in school through parental support? 🤔
At GoStudent we are always here to provide ways you can avoid being a stressed parent. So here are four simple tips by our expert on how you can help students be regarded and included amongst their peers.
👉 Plan The Play-Date
🔥 Expert Tip : “When a child comes home to play with your child, they're really coming for a playdate with you [the parent],” says London-based Saskia Joss; a private integrative arts therapist and mother. “That’s because parents have more social skills than children to be able to facilitate bonding amongst them.”
Joss says parents can facilitate this by setting the agenda for the playdate that would help the kids spend meaningful time together. Whether that’s playing cricket, watching a film or even baking!
👉 Build Self-Esteem
The healthy popularity needed for a happy life doesn’t mean being liked by everyone. We want students to be popular enough to form their own circle of close and trusting friends.
🔥 Expert Tip : “Parents must help children separate themselves from others through facts – their likes and dislikes and good qualities,” says Joss. “And then, they [students] will be able to connect with like-minded peers.”
The positive acceptance of these ‘facts’ allows students to build their self- confidence. Which further encourages them to believe that they are worthy of belonging to their ‘tribe.’
🔥 Expert Tip : “The basis of self-esteem is knowing that the things you [students] care about are important,” says Joss. “Along with holding on to the belief that you are one-of-a-kind.”
👉 Hold On To Your Children
There is a thin line between wanting to be liked by peers and becoming a people pleaser! The latter can harm student mental health with no amount of popularity proving enough for them. 🤯
Yet again parents can help prevent it!
Joss recommends that parents “hold on to their kids”. Here she is referring to a book - ‘Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers’.
She explains that the fundamental concept discussed in the book is that children “rely more on the attention and praise of others when they don’t receive it from their parents.”
🔥 Expert Tip : “So the basis of how much children want to be liked by everyone will come from the amount of work parents have put into their relationship with them,” says Joss.
If as parents you feel that you’ve lost that intimate connection with your child, which is especially common when students enter teenage years, don’t be afraid!
It’s never too late to reconnect with your child! 🤝
👉 Express Empathy
If your child or teenager is scared to make friends let them know it’s perfectly okay!
Joss considers making friends an “an act of bravery”, as students are exposing a vulnerable side of themselves. 💪
It is also then common that students might receive rejection when making new friends and be upset by it. Through this the crucial point at which parents’ reactions can determine students’ willpower, to continue to try and make friends despite setbacks.
🔥 Expert Tip : “One of the worst feelings in the world is to feel lonely,” says Joss. “One of the most effective ways parents can help their children heal from it is by listening to them.”
So if you find your child distraught from being excluded, Joss advises parents no to always “jump in and try to fix the problems.”
Instead she says that parents should let children vent and express their feelings. So they know that parents empathise with them.
If you’ve always been the instant solution provider for your child, don’t be disheartened! Even parents can learn from their mistakes!
Though of course once your child has voclaised their pain and calmed down, parents should suggest some remedies.
Some ways you can help your child make better friends:
❇️ Propose talking to their school to open a hobbies club that interests your child. This will help them find like-minded friends.
❇️ Let students know you will speak to the school authority if certain peers or school policies are making them feel excluded.
❇️ Suggest a digital detox if social media is causing students to feel isolated.
❇️ Consider sending students for counselling or therapy if you need professional support to help them make friends.
🔥 Expert Tip : “Let them [students] know that you as parents will not give up on any situation till they feel better and okay about it,” says Joss.
At Gostudent we give holistic academic support to our students so that parents have the time to look after students’ emotional needs. Book a free-trial with one of our tutors here!