I often feel as though I am enduring the ups and downs of tween friendships right alongside my 9-year-old daughter, Hannah. She's been blessed with a sweet group of friends, but there are still moments (sometimes long moments) when she finds herself feeling left out or at a loss for how to make new friends. During these discouraging times, I turn her attention toward the more predictable relationships in her life. For example, Hannah is great with young kids. Thankfully, our neighborhood has toddlers in every direction. Gently nudging Hannah toward her role as the neighborhood "Mommy's helper" can do wonders for her self-esteem, reminding her of the love and creativity she has to offer. We're also fortunate to live close to grandparents. Nothing speaks into my tween's life with greater assurance and perspective than an afternoon hike with Nana. Helping my daughter refocus relationally renews her confidence, models healthy interaction and leaves her ready to re-engage her peers.
This article appeared in the August/September 2013 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2013 by Cari Stone. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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