Your 10-year-old daughter’s BFF is moving away. How do you help her cope?
Promise her a trip to visit the BFF if they remain in regular contact for a year. Tell her you’ll let her pick out reasonably priced paper and envelopes, stickers, sealing wax and let her have a go. It’s a fun, easy way to promote a lifelong habit that can have unexpected dividends. I am always amazed at the impact even the once-routine bread-and-butter thank-you note gets in today’s less courteous cyber age.
– Bill Daley
Help your daughter put together a memory-filled going-away gift (perhaps a photo album or scrapbook), and make two copies so each friend has one to keep. Stress the fact that technology can help the friends stay in touch. Do not belittle the impact of this move. But once some time has passed after the move, be sure to check and make sure new friendships are flourishing. If not, help plan some play dates with new friends, or find activities for your daughter to have a chance to meet new friends.
– Dodie Hofstetter
“At 10, it can feel like the end of the world for a best friend to move away,” said family therapist Roni Cohen-Sandler, author of “Stressed-Out Girls: Helping Them Thrive in the Age of Pressure” (Viking Adult).
“They’re not yet old enough to have the technology older kids use to maintain a long-distance friendship. Or the opportunity to travel independently. They’re largely at the mercy of their parents.”
Help your daughter think of all of the ways she can stay in touch: handwritten letters, email if she has a personal account, Skype or FaceTime phone calls. And remind her that you will help her plan visits.
“It’s important not to make promises you don’t think you can keep, though,” Cohen-Sandler said. “In the heat of the moment, don’t say, ‘We’ll fly to visit all the time!’ if you aren’t necessarily going to.”
And be careful not to assume you know what’s most upsetting your daughter.
“You might think your child is really upset because she loves this friend so much and is going to miss her,” Cohen-Sandler said. “It also might have something to do with the function of that friendship; now she’s worried about what lunch table she’ll sit at or who will take ballet class with her or who will stick up for her on the softball team.”
Try to get your daughter talking about all of her feelings around the move.
“Ask her what she’ll miss most about her friend,” Cohen-Sandler said. “Tell her that it can be hard to imagine what our days will be like without someone we’ve spent a lot of time with, but if there’s anything she’s concerned about, she can certainly talk to you about it.”
Have a solution? A speaker you strongly oppose is coming to your son’s school. Do you keep him home?