Helping a child make friends

Child Psychologist Rebecca Eberlin, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for helping your child make friends and be a good friend throughout the developmental stages
How to Help Your Child Make Friends
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Helping a child make friends

The ways that you help your children learn how to make friends and navigate friendships changes at every single developmental period. So at the early stages of life, what you can do is play with them. Give them an opportunity to practice with you, the person that they are the most comfortable with, all different types of situations whether it is imagination or with their trucks or their legos or it is you singing and dancing with them. Give them an opportunity to practice at home. As children age, their needs for social skills are going to change and the skills that they need are going to change, which means your skills as a parent in teaching these social skills are going to change. So you will transition from playing with your children to establishing play dates so that your children have other same aged peers in their home where you can monitor what is going on and engage when you need to, disengage when you can. And then of course, as they get older and older, having a dialog about friendship. Help them think about what their friends are thinking. It comes down to perspective taking. Helping them have an understanding both cognitively and emotionally what is going on with that other child. So it really changes as children age but most importantly, just be there to support your kid. Talk about what is hard about friends. Talk about what is great about friends. Have that ongoing dialog and that is where we see children be successful.

Child Psychologist Rebecca Eberlin, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for helping your child make friends and be a good friend throughout the developmental stages


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Rebecca Eberlin, PhD


I am a California state licensed psychologist, who specializes in providing evidence-based treatment and assessment to children, adults and families with a variety of emotional, behavioral and developmental challenges.

A proud Wolverine, I graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Political Science. I then returned to California and completed my Doctoral training at Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, an APA accredited pre-doctoral internship at Sharp HealthCare, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Children’s Health Council.

I relocated to Los Angeles in the summer of 2011 to conduct prevention-focused research at UCLA’s Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the Global Center for Children and Families. During my time at UCLA, I became the lead psychologist and Director of Services and Operations at the UCLA Family Commons in Santa Monica.

Throughout the course of my career, my research and treatment interests have included working with children, adolescents and adults who struggle with behavioral and emotional challenges, such as depression, anxiety, impulse control disorders, developmental disabilities and other family-based issues. I also conduct parent education seminars that focus on a wide variety of issues including resiliency, stress, relationships, social media and friendship and bullying.

While my primary location is West Los Angeles, I also have offices in Northern California. If you are interested in obtaining coaching or cognitive testing services in the Bay Area, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please please visit my website to learn more about me, my practice and how therapy can work for you.

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