How can I help if my child feels lonely?

We all experience loneliness in different ways. For some young people, it’s a feeling that others don’t understand them, or that they don’t fit in. For others, it’s a sadness about not having close friendships.

Loneliness isn’t a measure of how many friends someone has. Even young people who have lots of friends can experience loneliness and isolation. Young Minds helped put together these suggestions:

Two boys looking out of a window
  • Talk to your child about positive relationships. Keep it light – show an interest in their friends or peers, and ask how they feel about them.
  • Let them know it’s OK to be alone sometimes. We all feel lonely from time to time: it doesn’t make them a failure.
  • Acknowledge their feelings if your child says they’re lonely. Phrases like “I can see why that would be painful” help them feel heard.
  • Spending time with your child is a simple way to help them feel loved and accepted.
  • As long as it doesn’t carry any risk, try not to be dismissive or critical if your child wants to fit in with their peers.
  • Does your child want to join in with local groups? Charities and your local authority can suggest groups that support shared backgrounds.
  • Ask a teacher at your child’s school to look for signs your child is struggling. They may be able to suggest other ways to help, too.
  • Encourage your child to reach out to other children who seem lonely at school. Helping others can make us feel more connected.
  • Your child may be mirroring what they see at home. If you’re feeling lonely, consider meeting others through groups and activities. Show your child positive ways to respond to loneliness.
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