When a child’s best friend moves away, it can be a difficult and emotional time for both the child and the parents. The child may feel a deep sense of loss and sadness, and may have trouble understanding why their friend has to leave.
As a parent, it’s important to provide your child with support and guidance during this difficult time.
When a Friend Moves Away: Helping Your Child Process Their Feelings
One of the first steps you can take is to simply listen to your child and validate their feelings. Let them know that it’s okay to feel sad and upset, and encourage them to talk about their emotions. This can provide them with a sense of support and understanding and can help them cope with their feelings of loss.
Another important step is to help your child understand why their friend is moving away. Depending on the situation, this may mean explaining the reasons for the move, such as a job opportunity or a family situation. By providing your child with this information, you can help them understand the situation and feel less confused and overwhelmed.
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Books and Movies That Tackle Loss
You can also read books together to provide your child with support and understanding, and to help them cope with their feelings of loss. Some books that deal with the theme of friends moving away and may be helpful to read with your child include:
“Goodbye, Friend” by Heather Pindar
This book tells the story of a young girl named Emily who is sad when her best friend moves away. But with the help of her family and friends, Emily learns to cope with her feelings and find new ways to stay connected with her friend.
“I Miss You” by Pat Thomas
In this simple and gentle book, a young girl named Lucy explains to her friend Sam why he is moving away and how she will miss him. The book provides an age-appropriate and reassuring way to talk about the difficult topic of friends moving away.
“The Memory String” by Eve Bunting
In this heartwarming book, a young girl named Jessie creates a memory string to remember her best friend who is moving away. The book explores the theme of friendship and the importance of holding onto memories.
“The Best Part of Me” by Wendy Ewald
This beautifully illustrated book is about a group of children sharing what they will miss most about their friend who is moving away. The book celebrates the unique qualities and memories that friends share.
“The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst
In this popular book, a mother tells her children about the invisible string that connects them to their loved ones, even when they are far away. The book provides a comforting and imaginative way to help kids understand and cope with the idea of friends moving away.
In addition to reading books, watching movies can also be a great way to provide your child with support and understanding when a friend moves away. Some movies that deal with the theme of friends moving away and may be helpful to watch with your child include:
- “The Secret of Roan Inish”: In this heartwarming movie, a young girl named Fiona moves to a new home on a remote island and learns about her family’s magical connection to the sea. As she makes new friends, Fiona also learns to cope with the loss of her old friend who has moved away.
- “The Incredible Journey”: In this classic movie, a young boy named Christopher sets out on a journey to find his lost dog, who has been sent to live with relatives in the country. Along the way, Christopher meets new friends and learns the value of resilience and perseverance.
- “Toy Story 3”: In this popular animated movie, the toys are accidentally left behind when their owner, Andy, goes off to college. The toys must learn to cope with their newfound loneliness and find new homes and friendships.
- “The Iron Giant”: In this animated movie, a young boy named Hogarth befriends a lonely and misunderstood giant robot. The movie explores the theme of friendship and the power of acceptance.
- “The Land Before Time”: In this classic animated movie, a young dinosaur named Littlefoot is separated from his family and must learn to cope with his loneliness and find his way back home.
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In addition, you can also help your child maintain a connection with their friend after they move away. This can mean encouraging them to stay in touch through phone calls, letters, or other forms of communication. You can also help your child plan fun activities or outings to do together when their friend visits, or encourage them to visit their friend in their new location.
Finally, it’s important to help your child move forward and build new friendships. Encourage your child to meet new people, join extracurricular activities or clubs, and explore their interests. By doing so, you can help your child overcome their feelings of loneliness and move forward.
It’s also important to keep an eye on your child’s emotional well-being and be on the lookout for signs of more serious issues, such as depression or anxiety.
If your child seems to be struggling to cope with their friend’s move, or if their behaviour changes significantly, it may be time to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide your child with the support and guidance they need to overcome their feelings of loss and build a happier, healthier future.
Some organisations and helplines that may be able to help include:
- Samaritans of Singapore – this organisation provides confidential emotional support to individuals who are struggling with loneliness, anxiety, depression, or other emotional challenges. They can be reached at 1800 221 4444.
- Kids Helpline – this organisation provides free and confidential support to kids and young people who are dealing with a wide range of issues, including loneliness, bullying, family problems, and more. They can be reached at 1800 668 8688.
- Tinkle Friends (Singapore Children’s Association) – this organisation provides support, resources, and services to Kids aged 7-12 who are dealing with mental health issues, including loneliness. They can be reached at 1800-2744-788.
In conclusion, when a child’s best friend moves away, it can be a difficult and emotional time for both the child and the parents. By providing your child with support, understanding, and guidance, you can help them cope with their feelings of loss and move forward to build new friendships and a more fulfilling life.
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