Accepted and Rejected Children in School-Age Friendships


The good news for parents is about 80% of children fall within the “accepted” children friendship group. 1 These children have at least one friend who protects them from experiencing long, lonely days in school.

The 20%

However, the remaining 20% are part of the “unclassifiable” group; they may have no friends at all. Psychologists are concerned about this bottom 20% on the social ladder. In this blog, we’ll look at the three sub-groups, typical friendships characteristics of each, and how parents can help these struggling children with friendships.

Neglected Children

The first sub-group is the “neglected” children who tend to be very shy, comprising five percent of children. 1 Although the group sub-title sounds negative, these children are very close to their families and typically good students. They simply don’t attract much attention from peers. Parents mainly need to accept their child’s social style which was explained in my last blog, Parents Can Help with School Age Child’s Friendships.

Controversial Children

The second sub-group, “controversial” children, also five percent, possess some traits peers like, but they also have annoying habits, such as: being a poor sport or poor hygiene. 1 These children need to be coached to give up annoying habits. Some parents think that by addressing these issues their children’s self-esteem will suffer, but these children are already suffering silently. If children knew how to change their behavior, they already would have.

Adult Guidance

They need adult guidance and specific strategies for improving these habits. It can begin with a simple observation question. “Today when you were shooting hoops, did you notice that your friend was angry when you kept hogging the ball? What can you do differently next time you shoot hoops?” When parents gradually and consistently work with children on specific annoying behaviors, most children will improve over time.

Rejected Children

The last sub-group, the “rejected” children contain 10% of children. 1 These children lack important social skills in a wide variety of areas and may not cooperate or know how to respond in certain situations.2 “Rejected children are either overly aggressive from the start and react to being rejected with more aggression, or they become depressed and withdrawn.” 1

Missing Skills

Whereas the “controversial” children need some help on certain social issues, these children must be taught missing skills. 2 If not, this child will become a rejected adult. Maybe you know someone like this. They don’t pick up on social cues and are observed as “misfits” at work and in social settings.

Life Skills

Now is the time for parents and schools to help these children develop the all-important life skill of making friends. School administrators are a great resource to find out about arranging friendship groups that help rejected children make friends. “Just 6 to 8 meetings of such a group can have a significant positive impact. Administrators should also implement anti-bullying policies and train teachers to create a socially safe environment in the classroom.” 1 Rejected, angry children may need counseling.

Help Finding Friendships

Both “rejected” and “controversial” children need help finding friendships in other venues beyond the school day. Spending time neighbor kids or cousins is one way to begin. Children are in close proximity for observing interactions combined with “coaching” later. Joining a youth group, like Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, or 4-H are other possibilities. Community service projects are great ways for children with to learn social skills while helping others.

Extra Guidance

When your children are in the last two sub-groups, they will need extra guidance, direction and support. Overtime, your children will benefit from better friendships. Remember, “It only takes one real friend to alleviate the worse aspect of loneliness.” 1


1. Let’s Be Friends: Help your child’s friendships flourish — even in the face of difficulty. Scholastic Parent,…/lets-be-friends. Accessed 10/17/2013.

2. Children’s Health: Peer Pressure, Accessed 10/5/2013.

Book Review: The Hurried Child: Growing up too fast too soon

The Hurried ChildOne of my favorite contemporary psychologists is David Elkind, author of the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Hurried Child. The message in his original book published in 1981 was, “Give childhood back to children.” As a child development specialist, his message echoes mine.

25th Anniversary Edition

Unfortunately, in his revised edition, the deluxe 25th anniversary edition, the prefaces to his books sadly state that children are increasingly hurried. Interestingly, he includes all his previous prefaces in this edition.

First Edition

The first edition focused on the way parents, schools, and the media hurry children. Concerns about sports and schooling that he considered developmentally inappropriate, as well as the effects of sex and violence on television were key components of his book.

Technology & Hurry

The latest edition adds information on the effects of technology on children with the pervasiveness of our hurried society and media. “In many ways, our new technologies have radically transformed childhood, and not always for the better,” (p. viii). Other significant cultural changes include the focus on infant education, such as Baby Einstein and computer programs for infants and toddlers. Out of home child care for 12.5 million children under age five with an average of 36 hours per week is yet another cultural shift, as is the child as a consumer, and the technology empowered student.

Two Parts

This ten chapter book is dived into two parts: Our Hurried Children and Hurried Children: Stressed Children. Part one addresses the dynamics of how parents, schools, media and technology hurry children. Two excellent chapters in part 2 include Growing Up Slowly and How Children React to Stress.

Hurrying Children

Elkind’s documented so many significant cultural changes around hurrying children, he’s amended the closure from his first book to state, “In the end, a playful childhood is the most basic right of children,” (p. xvii). This book is counter culture to our hurried society which is exactly why I like it. Let’s give childhood back to our children. They deserve nothing less.

Book Information

The Hurried Child: Growing up too fast too soon by David Elkind, Ph.D., Da Capo Press, 2007, 25th anniversary edition. Available at; paperback deluxe edition $12.42; Kindle $10.33.


Gliding Effortlessly

The great egret glides effortlessly before her feet touch Lake Camanche’s shore. As I kayak fifty feet out along the shoreline I wonder, what would it be like to glide effortlessly through life. The egret makes it look so easy.

I lay my paddle across my kayak, lean back and ponder more about nature and life. Waves from a distant motor boat rock my kayak gently. The temperature is a perfect 84 degrees with a slight wind. The flock of Canada Geese honk to notify me that they don’t want my kayak too nearby.

After a few minutes I realize I’m gliding effortlessly. Ah yes, this is what it feels like. What other times in my life have I glided effortlessly and not realized it?

I’ve only kayaked five or six times but I absolutely treasure the tranquility of nature. Many of my effortless moments are with nature and God. When I kayak I’m more observant because I’m without my DSL camera. It’s not waterproof, so my senses capture the sights and sounds.

Great Egret takes flight

Another day while paddling down the Stanislaus River a fawn leaps four times across the narrow stream just twenty feet in front of my kayak. The fawn quickly hides behind the bushes but I can still see her white spots. Those kayaking behind me call out, “Is there another one?”

A baby most likely has a mother somewhere near. And there she is. Leaping across the water in only two steps she reaches her fawn. Time stands still. Effortless.

During the early years of my brain impairment I had periods of time when I couldn’t move nor speak. As I felt a “spell” come on, I laid on the couch. My world grew dark and unchanging except for background sounds and voices. Much of my day was spent this way since these “fading spells” could happen four to five times a day for 30 minutes to two hours at a time.

The longer the spell lasted the further away I drifted from this world. When the spell was particularly long and dark, I often felt like I was momentarily going to see Jesus face to face. My life felt effortless. I could do nothing but breathe and listen.

I used these moments to talk to God. With limited capacity, my prayers were almost child-like. “Thank you for my life. I love you, God. Take care of Rick. Bless my family. Help them when I’m gone. See you soon.” Effortless.

Until my reality returns. I’m still here. God hasn’t taken me home.

In 2012, God led me to Stanford Hospital’s Neurology & Epilepsy Department. Hospitalized for two weeks, the medical team reaches a diagnosis. After eight weeks in a day-patient program in Concord, I begin a weekly treatment program at Stanford in January 2013. For two years, family, friends, and acquaintances who became friends drive me back and forth to the Bay Area.

I learn to manage many symptoms so they don’t take over my life. Thankfully, my fading spells are gone. I don’t spend hours in darkness unable to move and speak.

But day-to-day life is anything but effortless. Although many symptoms are gone, my brain impairment still lingers. There is no cure. I remain on disability, unable to work. But this time allows me freedom to enjoy nature more often. When I focus on the Lord and what He has right in front of me, I glide effortlessly.


Signs Your Child Has a Bad Teacher

empty_classroom 284164

Your kids started the school-year not that long ago. Yet your child is already complaining. Is the problem your child or the teacher?

Although children can create behavioral challenges, teachers can also instigate problems. Your child may complain that the teacher yells. A teacher who yells is out of control. The louder the students, the more the teacher yells and grows angry.

Yelling and Fear

This can create fear in some children, not to mention being poor teaching practice. My daughter complained about this one year, but when I helped in her classroom, the teacher raised her voice slightly in a stern voice. My daughter perceived that as yelling. However, typically when children report yelling, the teacher is out of control.

Softer and Quieter

Good teachers know that the noisier students get, the quieter the teacher’s voice gets. A “look” works better than a raised voice. The teacher also gets closer to the disruptive students. For example, a group in the back is rowdy. The teacher walks near the group and softly says, “I need this group to stop talking and listen.” Most of the remainder of the class doesn’t even hear and class goes on.

Negative Treatment

If your child complains about how the teacher treats students, the teacher may be labeling or embarrassing children. Such actions as put-downs, belittling, sarcasm, labeling “stupid” or “slow,” or making fun of children are all completely unacceptable and demonstrate a lack of respect for children.

Teaching Styles

Teachers have different teaching styles that your child may need to adjust to; however, being treated disrespectfully is one of the most common ways the teacher is the problem. Maybe the teacher refuses to model the lesson more than once.

What’s the Real Story?

If you sense there is a problem, don’t go to the principal or the school board. Speak directly to the teacher. If it is still unresolved, you can then ask to speak to the teacher’s supervisor. Remember, you always want to get both sides of the story. By listening to both your child and the teacher, you can obtain accurate information. Then you’re prepared to make the best decisions for your child.


Image Source: empty_classroom 284164 []

The Power of Childhood Friendships

By Andrea Williams with quotes from Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D.
Posted on: Daily Parent, August 1, 2014

Expert insight into the power of childhood friendships, for better or worse, and how to nurture friend-making skills.

Some of us can still fondly remember long summer days and recess hours spent with our closest pals, making mud pies, catching ladybugs and generally having lots of fun. As it turns out, the effects of those adolescent friendships last well into adulthood.

“Being chosen [as a friend] makes a child or teen feel affirmed, and it also expands their horizon beyond the narrow world of their nuclear family,” says Dr. Jan Yager, Ph.D., author of When Friendship Hurts. “The child or teen can become friends with someone of a different race, religion, culture or socio-economic background since their siblings will most likely be very similar to them. Friendships outside of siblings expand a child or teen’s horizons and view of the world and other families besides their own.”

Conversely, not learning to develop solid friendships can negatively affect a child’s future, as Yager notes that kids who spend too much time alone can become lonely teens and adults and even begin to develop signs of depression. Truly, we live in an interconnected world, and whether it relates to effectively completing group assignments in high school or college, or securing a job post-graduation and being able to work collaboratively with colleagues, it’s important that we encourage our children to develop strong, meaningful friendships. Here’s how:

Teach kids how to be good friends.

Anyone who’s had a relationship with an overly needy or inconsiderate person knows that being a great friend to others has become a bit of a lost art. Teach your kids now how to treat others well, and you won’t ever have to worry about them being alone later. “Kids can learn to model great friendships when they are given the tools for experiencing empathy,” says parenting expert Natalie Blais. “The power of empathy has a deep and lasting impression on kids because they are not yet clouded with disappointment like adults are. Kids are constantly filled with wonder when it comes to emotion, and empathy is an experience kids must learn to master.”

Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D, an education and child development expert agrees, adding that it is up to parents to model the kind of behavior that they expect their kids to develop. “Role modeling is significant,” she says. “How parents interact with their children and their children’s friends helps them learn positive friendship skills. For example, if friends come over, the parent may suggest, ‘Emily, maybe your friends would like a snack. I can help you.’ Over time, sharing a snack becomes automatic.”

Encourage kids to seek out children who need friends.

Though cell phones have replaced land lines, and kids may actually spend more time communicating with each other via social media than face-to-face, little else has changed in the world of childhood friendships. On any playground across the country, you’re likely to find a group or clique, of popular, outgoing kids along with a smattering of quiet, more introverted kids who hang solo.

“My son is going into third grade in September, and we spent the entire year of second grade learning how to find kids who need someone to be a friend to them,” says Blais. “At the end of each day, I ask my son if he had the opportunity to be kind to someone that day. I make sure I have him consistently thinking about and looking for the chance to be kind to someone and reach out to him. Often, parents ask their kids how the day was, but they rarely ask their kids how they genuinely plugged into the situation around them and searched out the kids who needed them most.”

Get involved.

If your child is introverted, it’s important that you step in and help her begin to interact with others. The key, though, is not to push her too far outside of her comfort zone. “Years ago it was believed that children develop a temperament by age 3, but most research shows that children are born with an individual temperament,” Fritzemeier explains. “Some will be naturally outgoing and noisy, while others may be quiet and reserved. Parents who push their children to become someone they are not only increases the children’s stress levels, but as children get older, she can begin to question if her parents want them to be more like them or a sibling.”

Yager suggests parents arrange playdates for their kids (even through the elementary years) and enroll preschool-aged children in classes like Mommy and Me or Gymboree to help foster new friendships. Additionally, adds Fritzemeier, bringing a toy or pet can serve as an icebreaker and help draw other kids to your child. Also, when choosing other children to arrange playdates with, it’s important to try to find kids whose temperaments match that of your child, so she is not overwhelmed by an outgoing or boisterous personality.

Intervene when necessary.

Eventually, as your child ages and becomes more adept at interacting with others, she is bound to get involved in an unhealthy friendship. Parents, then, must toe the line between allowing their kids to be proactive in choosing their own relationships while also protecting them from significant hurt or danger. “Being a parent means taking the time to get to know the kids your child is spending time with,” says Dr. Tina Tessina, Ph.D., LMFT. You need to know their parents and hang out with them. Driving [your children’s friends] places and listening to what they talk about in the car while you’re driving is a great way to get a sense of who they are. This is most easily done while your kids are small; once they’re teens, you have a lot less control.”

If you do discover that your child is hanging out with someone she shouldn’t, Tessina suggests deftly steering her toward more positive influences without damaging your relationship with your child. “It’s best not to say bad things about the friends you don’t like; it will set you and your children against each other,” she explains. “This is why it’s so important to pay attention early on: you want to intervene before your child is too attached to someone. The best tactic is to find something your child is interested in and allow her to get involved, and distract your child from the undesirable friends. It also helps to find out what your child is getting out of the friendship. Is there some kind of acceptance for something you child feels bad about? Perhaps there’s something you don’t understand.”

Ultimately, though, if you’ve taken the time to show your child how to be a good friend and helped her to develop solid friendships while she’s young, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Adds Tessina, “If you set up a good parameter, you can let your child make choices, because there won’t be any bad ones.”

Published in:

“Cali”-fornia Cat Conserves Water

I bet you know one just like her: adorable, irresistible, independent, and a member of your family. Nine-year-old Cali is my companion, at least when she wants to be.

I love it when she snuggles close to me and purrs. Brushing and petting Cali-kitty is one of the most relaxing parts of my day. Maybe you have a special cat companion too.

Almost everything Cali does is simply adorable and photo worthy. Her album includes posing under the Christmas tree, kissing our dog, playing with tissue paper, dozing in the sun, lying on my lap, exploring bags, and drinking water from our bathroom sink faucet.

Cali drinking her daily water

Cali’s daily routine drinking water…simply adorable

Cali perches herself next to the sink indicating she needs her personal servant to turn her water on at just the correct flow. Not so much that is splashes her face, but not so little that it takes too long. After all she has a busy schedule being adorable.

And apparently she isn’t the only water faucet drinking cat. Many cats prefer running water because it’s fresh and they’re attracted to the water’s movement.

Check out some of these other sink drinkers. Does your cat do this? I bet you even have adorable photos too.

Princess Cali begins her ritual by washing her paws and face. A little water on the right paw, wipes paw on face while licking and cleaning. Repeats with left paw. Then begins drinking the perfectly flowing water. Another photo op of simply adorable.

cat-drinking-from-tap []

cat-drinking-from-tap []

I don’t have time to stand around and wait until Queen Cali finishes her routine. I never know how long my precious Cali-kitty will drink, so I leave the water running for her. I go about my business, take a shower, do my make-up, start laundry, or whatever. Then I notice the water’s still running. Oh well. I quickly turn off the water.

With several years of California drought, I’ve been thinking more about ways I can conserve water. I wonder how much water I waste to make kitty happy. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that letting the faucet run for five minutes uses up to 8 gallons of water a day! (1)

I admit that 8 gallons a day seems like a lot of wasted water. How about if I conserve and just let the water drip instead? Web site H2OUSE states that the estimated faucet leakage rates for 60 drops per minute = 192 gallons per month or about 3.06 gallons a day. (2)

Mog & The Kitchen Sink #01 []

If I’m saving water, maybe kitty can save water too. After all, she is a Cali-fornia cat. She even also has her own hotel: Hotel Cali-fornia, aka the utility room. I expect not leaving the water running or even dripping will be a battle. A battle I will eventually win.

But there isn’t a battle. Cali doesn’t even bat a whisker. When she wants water, I add about 1/2 inch of cold water to her small bowl conveniently located on the bathroom counter. Its fresh right from the sink and if I place it quickly, the water even moves. If Cali drinks all the water, I give her a little more.

No more adorable photos of her washing her paws. No more adorable photos of her drinking sink. water No more adorable photos of her water play. Just adorable photos of her drinking from her bowl.

How about it Cali-fornia cats? How about it all non-California cats? Let’s start a movement – Cats Conserving Water. Now that’s simply adorable.


Sources: Accessed June 18, 2015. Accessed June 18, 2015.

One Bike Rider & Two Ducklings

Two little ducks


Only one baby duck came back. (To Naraghi Lakes)

Went out today

Over the curb and far away.

Mother Duck said,

“Quack, quack, quack.”

But only one little duck came back (to Naraghi Lakes).


One little duck

Went out today

Over the curb and far away.

Mother Duck said,

“Quack, quack, quack.”

But no little duck came back.


Mother Duck said,


One baby duck did not come back.

“Quack, quack, quack.”

“Quack, quack, quack.”

“Quack, quack, quack.”

But the little duck still didn’t come back.


The bike rider said,

“I’ll help, I’ll help, I’ll help.”

Mother Duck said,

“Quack, quack, quack.”

With the help of a bike rider

the little duck hopped up the curb


Mother Duck said, “Quack, quack, quack.”

The little duck came back.


Mother duck said,

“Quack, quack, quack.”

The baby ducklings said,

“Peep, peep, peep.”

The bide rider said,

“Joy, joy joy.”


Adapted From: Five Little Ducks

Written By: Unknown

Copyright: Unknown


Accessed: June 23, 2015


“Do you work?”


When I think of May, I think of Mother’s Day.

Have you ever been at a social gathering and someone inquires, “Do you work?”

My gut reaction is, of course I work. Doesn’t every mom work? But I also know the inquirer really wants to know if I hold an important job that requires a college education and offers social status. Another variation is, “Where do you work?” In other words, do you work for a prestigious company and make six figures?

Medical forms also request work information. When I was a young mother I’d respond, “I don’t work.” But I didn’t like how it sounded. It felt like I was less than someone else, less important than a mother who holds a paying job outside the home. My husband and I made the choice for me to be the primary caretaker of our children. So why was I feeling so down when I was doing the most important job?

When our girls entered school, I finally arrived at a creative answer that I felt proud to share. “I’m the Vice-President of the Fritzemeier Foundation.” When someone requests my work phone, I simply repeat my home number.

One day at medical appointment, the doctor inquired, “What’s the Fritzemeier Foundation? It sounds important.”

“You’re right. I’m impacting the entire next generation by training young people to live independently, develop job proficiency, demonstrate leadership skills, participate in civic responsibilities, and become life-long learners.”

“Sound interesting,” he nods.

“It’s pretty remarkable. No two days are ever the same. It keeps me on my toes.”

Back to work.

Our Heart Attitude

Perhaps you’ve grumbled about a co-worker, “She always has such a bad attitude. I can’t stand being around her.” Maybe you’ve been told, “You have a bad attitude,” or said to your teen, “When you change your attitude, I’ll talk to you.”

Last week I spoke to a group of moms. One segment of the talk was checking our heart attitude. I adapted these questions from a book, Checklist for Life for Moms.1

  • Do you recognize that your attitudes can have far-reaching effects on your family?
  • Do you acknowledge that a negative attitude can easily develop into a critical way of life?
  • Do you accept that you can choose your attitude toward a particular person or situation?
  • Do you consider that your thoughts & attitudes should reflect those of Christ?
  • Do you trust God to show you the positive qualities in those who usually engender negative feelings?
  • Do you appreciate the common ground that can be found in negative or difficult family members?

So how do you check your own attitude? How is your attitude critical to your daily life?


1. Checklist for Life for Moms, Thomas Nelson, 2005.

10 Math Skills Children Can Learn from Laundry Detergent Lids, Part 1 of 4

3 edited by rjf

A clear plastic container filled with colorful lids

How do you describe your experiences with math? Many of us think of descriptions that wouldn’t be appropriate for a blog. Math is often an obstacle for students graduating from high school and community college.

Math Easier. But if we start teaching math concepts to young children using objects they can manipulate and explore, math becomes easier. Let’s look at making math fun teaching with lids.

One reader reports, “I didn’t throw away the laundry detergent lids as suggested in your previous blog. I’ve saved over 50 colorful lids in different colors, sizes, and a few shapes. What’s next? How do I use my lid collection to help children learn math concepts?”

Here are the first three of 10 math skills that toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners & primary grade children can learn from manipulating laundry detergent and other lids.

Cartoon Speech Bubble Clip Art []

Cartoon Speech Bubble Clip Art []

Math Skill 1: Talking Math. So math doesn’t become an obstacle for your kids or grandchildren learn how to talk to them about math. Most math concepts are abstract so use real objects when talking about math. (1) Hold three lids and say, “I have three lids. How many lids do you have?” Examples of what to say or ask children are shared for each skill.

DSC_0041 edited by rjf

It is easier to count lids that are all the same color

Math Skill 2: Counting and One-to-One Correspondence. Parents and grandparents are so thrilled when their toddlers or preschoolers can count 1 to 10 or to 20. The children have simply memorized the numbers just like they memorize a song. They don’t yet understand the concepts of numbers. This is called rational counting.

To truly count, children need to understand that the number they are saying corresponds with an actual item. This is called One-to-One Correspondence. The number two represents two items, and so on. Start with five lids and then add more. As you point to each lid with the child’s finger say, “Let’s count the lids. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. That’s right, there are five lids.”

20150614_125020 edited by rjf

Cylinder shapes

Math Skill 3: Geometric Shapes. Preschoolers can learn to identify simple shapes, such as circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. What shapes did you discover for your lid collection? Did you save any lids that flip open or square lids from make-up? The majority of lids in my collection are circle shapes.

Recognize. Once children can identify the circle shape itself, they can begin to recognize the shape in pictures or common items around the house. “Let’s see if we can find any circle shapes around us.” Then look around the room. “That’s right, the ______ is a circle shape.”

Cylinder. In California, first graders learn the cylinder shape. Cylinder shapes in my lid collection are from deodorant and assorted hair product lids.

Keep Collecting. Try talking math while you do the first two math skills with toddlers and preschoolers. And since you’ve captured a glimpse of the great skills you can teach with lids, collect more lids until you have about 150. The next blog will feature more math skills children can learn from laundry detergent lids.



  1. Preschool Math, Amanda Morgan posted August 9, 2008. Accessed 5/27/2015.