Children go through many sets of friendships as they grow. Some will flourish and some will fizzle out. You can’t control how these relationships will play out since they’re your child’s own experiences, but you must understand that sometimes it’s important to intervene. Friendship triangles can be a fun-but-sometimes-difficult dynamic. In these circumstances, when you consider how important it is for your child to develop healthy relationships at this fragile age, you’ll be able to make a practical evaluation of your child’s relationships and intervene when it becomes necessary.
A friendship triangle can lead to bullying — and nobody wants to have their child suffer through any sort of bullying experience. For example, let’s say your child has two friends. The three of them hang out all the time, both in and outside of school. Suddenly, your child does something that upsets one of the friends. The dynamic of fun and friendly play can turn quickly and suddenly into every parent’s worst nightmare. The antagonism that blossoms can spread like a disease; the moment two friends have made an alliance against the third, the previously happy threesome might never be the same again.
Communicating with your child and stressing the importance of branching out with friends as opposed to staying sheltered with just two could help them greatly if this type of situation arises. Even though you can’t always have a direct impact on what happens with your child’s relationships, gently encouraging them to branch out socially is always a good idea.
Helping Your Child
If your child feels alienated or stressed from a friendship-triangle squabble, it’s important for you to remember that you can’t become frustrated with their decisions. You’re in a role where your child will turn to you for solace and comfort, which is exactly what you should offer. Just because they said or did something in their friendship triangle that hurt someone doesn’t mean you should criticize or scold them for it. After all, everyone makes mistakes.