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The Essential Guide to Helping Your Child Say Goodbye to Friends

Saying Goodbye to Friends
In the journey of parenting, there are moments of joy and there are moments of heartache. One of those tender moments comes when children have to bid farewell to their school friends who are moving to different schools. A parent’s instinct is to protect their child from any form of sadness or anxiety. But it’s crucial to remember that with the right guidance, your child can navigate this experience and come out stronger.

The art of saying goodbye is a valuable life lesson, one that will equip your child with emotional resilience. Start by preparing them gently for the transition. Encourage open conversations where they can express their feelings. “I feel sad,” “I will miss my friends,” and “I am worried about making new friends” are all valid emotions. Reassure them that it’s okay to feel this way.

Engage in activities that would help your child remember their friends fondly. Creating memory keepsakes such as scrapbooks with photos, notes, and drawings can be a comforting reminder of the good times. This not only keeps the memories alive but also serves as a tangible anchor they can come back to when they miss their friends.

Teach them the importance of staying connected. Technology, when used wisely, can be a blessing. Help them set up regular video calls or write letters and emails. Encouraging your child to maintain friendships despite the geographical barriers will give them a sense of continuity and help lessen the blow of separation.

Another important aspect is to nurture the excitement of new beginnings. Acknowledge the bittersweet feelings but also highlight the opportunities that a new school year can bring. New friends, new activities, and new experiences await. Foster a sense of curiosity and adventure.

Modeling behavior is key. If your child sees you handling goodbyes with grace and optimism, they are more likely to mirror those behaviors. It can be helpful to share your own experiences of saying goodbye and the new friendships and opportunities that followed.

Lastly, reassure them that it’s perfectly normal for friendships to evolve. While some friends come into our lives for a season, others stay for a lifetime. And every friend leaves a unique imprint on our hearts.

As a parent, it’s your role to guide your child through these moments with empathy and strength. Saying goodbye is never easy, but with your support, your child will learn to embrace transitions with an open heart and a resilient spirit.
 

 

Author
Dr. Muhammad Zeshan Headshot Dr. Muhammad Zeshan My name is Muhammad Zeshan, MD, and I am a Harvard trained infant, child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist at Inside Out, a private practice based in Princeton, New Jersey. I am currently working as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School-Newark, New Jersey. Through Inside Out CURE, my focus is to help individuals become more Compassionate, Understanding, and aware of their inner strength and vulnerabilities, while developing Resilience and Empathy. I offer a variety of mental health care services to all age groups (infancy through adulthood) by applying principals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, positive psychology, family therapy, parent-child intervention therapy, pharmacology, and neuroscience.

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