Heidi Allen Garvin, who has garnered an enormous following with her Mormon Moms blog, stresses empathy for this heart-wrenching problem — and an immediate search for solutions.

“I’d say, ‘It must be hard to be lonely,'” Garvin says, and “I’d ask, ‘What can we learn from this? How do you feel?’” But along with empathy, she recommends troubleshooting right away. “Maybe they’re shy or obnoxious or hygiene is an issue,” Garvin says. “I’d invite someone over. Or enroll the child in an activity. I’d talk to a teacher and I’d ask them for help. I’d tell my child to look for someone else who is lonely to be their friend.”

Here’s how 4 other parenting experts say to respond…

 

Madeline Levine
“Don’t jump in too fast!” warns Madeline Levine, author of Teach Your Children Well. Instead, take this approach so your child learns to navigate friendships. Format: Video (1:33)
 


Sh*tty Moms
“Aww, suck it up,” says Alicia Ybarbo. “It’s your fault,” says Mary Ann Zoellner. The co-authors of Sh*tty Mom agree that with this complaint, tough love is in order. Format: Video (1:28)
 


Betsy Brown Braun
The author of parenting books Just Tell Me What to Say and You’re Not the Boss of Me says to listen and help your child step up his social interactions. Format: Article
 


Jane Nelsen
The bestselling author of Positive Discipline says parents do their kids a disservice by trying to fix the problem. You help them far more by teaching them to help themselves. Format: Article
 



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