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It is very common in this summer time for parents to encourage our children to make friends wherever we go. It is true that parents love it and we are proud to see how our children have sufficient resources to make friends. But, once they are done, we must also teach them how to say goodbye to them.
We all remember how bad it was when as children or adolescents we had to say goodbye to summer friends, knowing that in the best of cases you would wait a year to see them and, in other cases, you intuited that this goodbye would mean never seeing them again. .
My advice to parents is that these summer farewells, where it is time to say goodbye to friends or first summer loves, we must treat them as if they were a duel in which the little one will go through four phases:
1. Emotional shock
The first phase is when our children are aware that they will soon have to say goodbye. It is the phase where they begin to discount the days and hours that remain for that unwanted moment. It is very common to hear boys saying things like: 'We only have 3 nights left', 'It's our last Sunday together' or 'In two days I won't see you again'. It is a moment where they are verbalizing what is going to happen.
2. Sadness and anger
Stage that takes place immediately after dismissal, a few hours or the next day. It is an emotionally very hard time where we must support our children.
This phase in which they believe that, whatever they do, they will no longer see those friends with whom they have shared so much, nor will they feel the emotions they have experienced again, that is why they come to the moment of despair.
Finally comes the acceptance phase. Once they assume it, they have to start looking for resources for their solution and they try, for example, to see how they will see those friends again.
And in this process that our children are going through, what is our role? What can we do to make them feel supported? The best thing is that you act with them differently depending on the emotional process and the phase they are in.
When your children are in the first phase, it is good that they notice your support, that you are there, without diminishing the importance of what they are going through; offer them your shoulder to cry, hug them and calm them.
When they are in the second phase, talk a lot with them: let them tell you what they feel and share their feelings with you; Let them see that that moment was great and that is why they are excited and, you can even share yours with them. And, of course, this is a stage in which we must continue to be by their side.
When he enters the hopeless phase, ask him questions to make him aware of the situation. They are going to see it all black and that is where we, I insist, through questions, we must make them realize what happened. Questions such as' Why do you think you are going to see us again? ',' Have you thought that maybe next year we could go to spend the summer there too? ',' Have you stayed with their social networks to maintain the contact?' or 'What makes you think you won't see them anymore?'
When they have accepted life as it is, we can help them generate resources to see them again or resume that friendship, if that is what they want.
Parents should never feel guilty about what has happened to them, we as parents have done what we should: go on vacation to the best possible place and encourage them to make friends. Now we have to help them in their dismissal process.
Of course, what is forbidden is that when our children say goodbye to their summer friends or their first loves we say things like: 'Nothing happens', 'You will have other friends', 'Do not suffer for anyone', 'It sure wasn't that bad', 'Wouldn't you think that this or that would be the love of your life?' or 'Forget about those people you weren't interested in, they've been good for you and that's it.'
A friendship lasting 10 or 15 days emotionally can become so intense that we should not detract from it. In the end we are what we feel!
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