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Cliques at School

Remember a time you wanted to join an activity but you couldn't because you weren't a member of the "in" crowd or "clique?" We've all been there, and we've all felt that we weren't good enough to be a part of a particular group. The last thing we want is for our children to feel the same way. Unfortunately, cliques are still an inevitable part of childhood. In fact, cliques are starting to form early in elementary school.

Cliques at School

It's important to remember that cliques are different than a group of friends. The social dynamics of a clique differ greatly from friendships because cliques are often run by one leader who decides who is "in" and who is "out." Even if your child is already a friend with someone in a clique, it doesn't mean she'll automatically be accepted because children outside a specific clique are considered "dangerous territory." To help your child with cliques in school, follow these parenting tips:

  • Talk about your own experiences with cliques. We've all had them, and letting your child know that you went through the same thing will give her comfort and hope.
  • Relate your child's current experiences to relevant media. Let her watch a movie or read a book that takes on cliques. There are many great stories that relay the message that it's important to stand true to yourself in the face of peer pressure and groups.
  • Explain the way social dynamics work. Let your child know that people are often judged by the way they dress and how they look or act and why this is wrong. You'll also want to explain to her the reason why cliques are formed; usually the leader has self-esteem problems or has been picked on.
  • Encourage other friendships. Get your child involved in extracurricular activities that allow her to make friends outside of school. This will allow her to not only learn new skills but will boost her self-confidence.

Unfortunately, cliques at school are an inevitable within a child's life, but this phase will pass. In the meantime, let your child know that you are there for her. If things get worse, you'll want to ask teachers and school officials to monitor the issue. Remember, don't solve the problem for your child, solve it with her.