I want a friend

April 15, 2008 – 9:00 pm

Sadie was 11 years old and was referred to our counsellor in school as she was having difficulties making and keeping friends.

The counsellor found Sadie a very articulate, seemingly self-assured child but it soon became obvious that she related much better to adults than to people of her own age.
As the only child still at home, she was surrounded by grown ups as her siblings were all much older. Sadie had been brought up to express her opinions confidently and it seemed other children found her bossy and overbearing.

Her teacher introduced a ‘friendship circle’ where other children in her class sat round and expressed their opinions about Sadie (with guidance from the teacher so that it was open but not too critical). Sadie was able to respond to this, putting her side of the story.

The counsellor then worked with Sadie over several sessions, getting her to look at herself through the eyes of her classmates. She labelled herself ‘little miss know-it-all’ but wasn’t sure what she could do about this. On the positive side, she said her class-mates found her generous, funny and cheerful. She was shown how to please other girls by giving compliments ‘I like your bracelet Amy’. She also worked on how to give other children space, without demanding that someone could only play with her at all times. She found activities to be involved in at lunchtimes when others were playing without her.

Sadie practised sharing, not only her sweets but also her would-be friends. She invited three girls for a sleep over and allowed them to choose some of the activities. It became apparent that other children would invite her to play if she was less demanding and more relaxed about organising the games. Thus Sadie was able to join the groups she had longed to be a part of.

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