Helping Kids Cope With Cliquesenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-kidCliques-enHD-AR1.jpgWith cliques prevalent in middle and high school, most kids encounter them at some point. Here's how parents can help kids maintain confidence and self-respect while negotiating cliques.cliques, friends, mean girls, queen bee, wanna-bes, outsiders, friendship, peer pressure, gangs, intimidation, clicks, mean girls, girl groups, groups of friends, bullies, bullied, being bullied, picked on, kids who are picked on, kids who bully, kids who are bullies, being bullied, popular, unpopular, cool kids, making friends, having friends, fighting with friends, getting along, being friends, friendships, coping with cliques, fights, school fights, fighting in school, middle school, high school, no friends, loners, school violence, goth kids, goths, punks, cheerleaders, jocks, standing up to bullies, helping kids who are bullied, CD1Behavioral Health10/15/200707/26/201807/26/2018Kathryn Hoffses, PhD07/20/201845452664-731c-48a0-a4cf-8c879cf0e03bhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cliques.html/<h3>What's a Clique?</h3> <p>Friendship is an important part of kids' development. Having friends helps them be independent beyond the family and prepares them for the mutual, trusting relationships we hope they'll establish as adults.</p> <p>Groups of friends are different from cliques in some important ways.</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Groups of friends</strong> form based on shared interests, sports, activities, classes, neighborhoods, or even family connections. In groups of friends, members are free to socialize and hang out with others outside the group without worrying about being cast out. They may not do everything together &mdash; and that's OK.</li> <li><strong>Cliques</strong> sometimes form around common interests, but the social dynamics are very different. Cliques are usually tightly controlled by leaders who decide who is "in" and who is "out." The kids in the clique do most things together. Someone who has a friend outside the clique may face rejection or ridicule.</li> </ul> <p>Members of the clique usually follow the leader's rules, whether it's wearing particular clothes or doing certain activities. Cliques usually involve&nbsp;lots of rules &mdash; implied or clearly stated &mdash; and intense pressure to follow them.</p> <p>Kids in cliques often worry about whether they'll still be popular or whether they'll be dropped for doing or saying the wrong thing or for not dressing in a certain way. This can create a lot of pressure. Kids may be pressured to take risks like steal, pull pranks, or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/no-bullying.html/">bully</a> other kids in order to stay in the clique. Kids also can be pressured into buying expensive clothing or getting involved in online gossip and teasing.</p> <p>Cliques are often at their most intense in middle school and junior high, but problems with cliques can start as early as 4th and 5th grades.</p> <h3>When Cliques Cause Problems</h3> <p>For most kids, the pre-teen and teen years are a time to figure out how they want to fit in and how they want to stand out. It's natural for kids to occasionally feel insecure; long to be accepted; and hang out with the kids who seem more attractive, cool, or popular.</p> <p>But cliques can cause long-lasting trouble when:</p> <ul> <li>kids behave in a way they feel conflicted about or know is wrong in order to please a leader and stay in the group</li> <li>a group becomes an antisocial clique or a gang that has unhealthy rules, such as weight loss or bullying others based on looks, disabilities, race, or ethnicity</li> <li>a child is rejected by a group and feels ostracized and alone</li> </ul> <h3>How Can Parents Help?</h3> <p>As kids navigate friendships and cliques, there's plenty parents can do to offer support. If your child seems upset, or suddenly spends time alone when usually very social, ask about it.</p> <p>Here are some tips:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Talk about your own experiences.</strong> Share your own experiences of school &mdash; cliques have been around for a long time!</li> <li><strong>Help put rejection in perspective.</strong> Remind your child of times he or she has been angry with parents, friends, or siblings &mdash; and how quickly things can change.</li> <li><strong>Shed some light on social dynamics.</strong> Acknowledge that people are often judged by the way a person looks, acts, or dresses, but that often people act mean and put others down because they lack self-confidence and try to cover it up by maintaining control.</li> <li><strong>Find stories they can relate to.</strong> Many books, TV shows, and movies portray outsiders triumphing in the face of rejection and send strong messages about the importance of being true to your own nature and the value of being a good friend, even in the face of difficult social situations. For school-age kids, books like "Blubber" by Judy Blume illustrate how quickly cliques can change. Older kids and teens might relate to movies such as "Mean Girls," "Angus," "The Breakfast Club," and "Clueless."</li> <li><strong>Foster out-of-school friendships.</strong> Get kids involved in extracurricular activities (if they aren't already) &mdash; art class, sports, martial arts, horse riding, language study &mdash; any activity that gives them an opportunity to create another social group and learn new skills.</li> </ul> <p>If your child is part of a clique and one of the kids is teasing or rejecting others, it's important to address that right away. With popular TV shows from talent contests to reality series glorifying rude behavior, it's an uphill battle for families to promote kindness, respect, and compassion.</p> <p>Discuss the role of power and control in friendships and try to get to the heart of why your child feels compelled to be in that position. Discuss who is in and who is out, and what happens when kids are out (are they ignored, shunned, bullied?). Challenge kids to think and talk about whether they're proud of the way they act in school.</p> <p>Ask teachers, guidance counselors, or other school officials for their&nbsp;perspective on what is going on&nbsp;in and out of class. They might be able to tell you about any programs the school has&nbsp;to address cliques and help kids with differences get along.</p> <h3>Encouraging Healthy Friendships</h3> <p>Here are some ways to encourage kids to have healthy friendships and not get too caught up in cliques:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Find the right fit</strong> &mdash; <strong>don't just fit in.</strong> Encourage kids to think about what they value and are interested in, and how those things fit in with the group. Ask questions like: What is the main reason you want to be part of the group? What compromises will you have to make? Is it worth it? What would you do if the group leader insisted you act mean to other kids or do something you don't want to do? When does it change from fun and joking around, to teasing and bullying?</li> <li><strong>Stick to your likes.</strong> If your child has always loved to play the piano but suddenly wants to drop it because it's deemed "uncool," discuss ways to help resolve this.&nbsp;Encourage kids to participate in activities that they enjoy and that build their confidence.</li> <li><strong>Keep social circles open and diverse.</strong> Encourage kids to be friends with people they like and enjoy from different settings, backgrounds, ages, and interests. Model this yourself as much as you can with different ages and types of friends and acquaintances.</li> <li><strong>Speak out and stand up.</strong> If they're feeling worried or pressured by what's happening in the cliques, encourage your kids to stand up for themselves or others who are being cast out or bullied. Encourage them not to participate in anything that feels wrong, whether it's a practical joke or talking about people behind their backs.</li> <li><strong>Take responsibility for your own actions.</strong> Encourage sensitivity to others and not just going along with a group. Remind kids that a true friend respects their opinions, interests, and choices, no matter how different they are. Acknowledge that it can be difficult to stand out, but that ultimately kids are&nbsp;responsible for what they say and do.</li> </ul> <p>Remember to provide the big-picture perspective too. As hard as cliques might be to deal with now, things can change quickly. What's more important&nbsp;is making true friends &mdash; people they can confide in, laugh with, and trust. And the real secret to being "popular" &mdash; in the truest sense of the word &mdash; is for them to be the kind of friend they'd like to have: respectful, fair, supportive, caring, trustworthy, and kind.</p>Ayudar a los niños a sobrellevar los grupos cerradosHay poco que puede hacer para proteger a sus niños(as) de estos grupitos, pero hay mucho que puede hacer para ayudar a que su hijo(a) mantenga la confianza en sí mismo y su dignidad mientras que negocia la situación y entiende lo que es la verdadera amistad.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/cliques-esp.html/7601b052-dd98-4a1c-b738-70ce5bbb05e3
Coping With CliquesAre you on the outside looking in or the inside wanting out? Find out how to deal with cliques in this article for teens.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/cliques.html/40365172-b61f-485e-a860-1a3d0592dcc6
CyberbullyingCyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. Here are some suggestions on what to do if online bullying has become part of your child's life.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cyberbullying.html/4355b9b4-2287-41f7-bca1-bd8fb925737a
Dealing With BulliesNo one likes a bully. Find out how to handle them in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/bullies.html/0837be94-ee02-42aa-bfbd-dc0f21aa7c11
Dealing With Peer PressureDid you ever feel like another kid was trying to get you to do something you didn't want to do? If so, you've felt peer pressure. Find out more in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/peer-pressure.html/3694d49b-29f9-4a3e-a447-30ffef3b61d1
Eating DisordersEating disorders are common among teens and kids, especially young women. Read about the warning signs, prevention strategies, and ways to help a child with an eating disorder.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/eating-disorders.html/0d56cfd0-b454-4f23-9fa2-0c7fae102171
Helping Kids Deal With BulliesUnfortunately, bullying is a common part of childhood. But parents can help kids cope with it and lessen its lasting impact.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/bullies.html/745a7b8a-efc6-4036-baf3-1bb7e96f1e60
How Cliques Make Kids Feel Left OutA clique is a group of kids who hang out together. It's kind of like a club. The trouble is, the leaders of a clique won't let everyone join. Find out how to handle cliques in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/clique.html/a0b8c340-bf15-457d-bcc2-2ed49cff978e
Teaching Kids Not to BullyWhether bullying is physical or verbal, if it's not stopped it can lead to more aggressive antisocial behavior - and harm a child's success in school and friendships.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/no-bullying.html/05f398aa-e79d-4576-bc75-af1f6b7553db
What to Do if You Don't Like SchoolEveryone has a bad day at school once in a while, but some kids really don't like school. Read this article for kids to find out more.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/hate-school.html/511a78d5-41c9-43d8-b6a0-672d853d3fe2
Your Child's Self-EsteemStrong self-esteem is a child's armor against the challenges of the world. Here's how to build healthy self-esteem in your kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/self-esteem.html/54f51c71-4edf-436b-a58c-b75e3c7b64d8
kh:age-bigKidSixToTwelvekh:age-teenThirteenToNineteenkh:clinicalDesignation-behavioralHealthkh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-behavioralHealthBullyinghttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/homework/bullying/3a02432e-a40d-4968-8f34-636c80feb473Behaviorhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/emotions/behavior/ec417296-5115-48f8-9e98-400241ef0269Tough Topicshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/positive/talk/8f27f8bd-ce64-4525-9b9c-2353a4af1dd7