Life Advice



Ask Amy: Classmate’s bullying is unacceptable

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Mom: It is not your job to provide friends for your son. Instead, make sure he has the tools necessary to form relationships and make friends.

Some children seem to thrive being part of a group, while others can feel overwhelmed by the challenges and stimulation of maintaining multiple relationships.

Your son may have a quirky and quieter temperament. You shouldn't telegraph your anxiety, but you should speak to his teacher, his Scout leader and his coach.

They may report that he does just fine in a more structured peer group overseen by an adult, but that he is out of his element on the playground. Or they may suggest he be evaluated for a more serious problem that may be emerging in adolescence.

I once heard psychologist Michael Thompson speak about childhood group dynamics. He said that parents often want their children to have lots of friends, but really, it only takes one friend to make a child feel he belongs. Your son may be a "one friend" kind of kid, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Read Thompson's book, "Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children" (2002, Ballantine Books).


(April 2011)


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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