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Ask the therapist: My daughter is upset that her friends don't obey lockdown

Our resident therapist answers your queries about life and relationships

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Q My daughter - who is an only child - is really friendly with some kids, one of whom is in her class, who live at the end of our cul-de-sac. I would be quite friendly with their mum and up until the coronavirus, we all got on like a house on fire. Since the lockdown, we have been obeying the rules but often we see them in the local park with other kids from the class - perhaps arranged, perhaps not. and they have had friends over. My daughter gets really upset when I don't let her go over and play and asks why she is the only one not allowed on play dates. I don't know what to say that doesn't seem critical of the other mum. Can you help?

A This is a major challenge many people are faced with every single day. You are asking your child to do something really difficult, to stop meeting friends and to stay away from them when she does see them. This is hard enough in itself. On top of this, she is witnessing her friend seemingly not having to obey these rules. This is hard for you and for her, and there is no way around it. What you are asking her to accept is that there are a set of rules laid out by the Government and she has to follow them while her friend doesn't. It is a tough concept to absorb, that life is not fair.

Firstly, reinforce why you are obeying the rules. Being direct with children is the best way, finding language that is age appropriate and said in a way that gets the message across in a clear and calm way that leaves her fully aware as to why she is staying away from her class mates.