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Q&A: Does My Child Have Enough Friends?

Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on evaluating whether your tween has sufficient social connections in his life.

By Rosalind Wiseman

Q. We moved to a new town four years ago and my 8-year-old still has only one friend who invites him over. Should I be worried?

A. Be concerned, but be careful. Too many moms push for playdates or stalk the playground to ensure their child has friends, but you can't force it (and if you try, other kids will resent your son). Also, your child may prefer to have one close buddy. So ask if he wants more kids in his life. If he doesn't, respect his answer. If he does, enroll him in a group where he can meet other children.

And realize that around third grade kids' friendships deepen. Last year my son Elijah, then 8, had no close friends, and, yes, I was a little freaked. But as he matured his social life blossomed. Whatever you do, remember that this isn't about you. Your job is to teach your son how to conduct healthy relationships, not worry about how popular he is.

Originally published in the April 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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