How Cliques Can Harm Your Child

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 2:52 PM CDT

Summer time means playtime for lots of kids.

But are they playing nicely?

There is always someone on the outside wishing they were 'in'.
Research shows that cliques are forming at younger and younger ages, but are these kids ready for the consequences?

Barbara Reyelts has the story for Connect with Kids.

Once in school when Stanzi was 7 years old, she had a cold and a persistent cough .

"All of a sudden they all started picking on me, saying I had a quote disease unquote."

One study found that behaviors like forming cliques, gossiping and spreading rumors actually boosts perceived popularity. Experts say young kids don't understand how hurtful their behaviors can be.

"One of the problems with cliques starting earlier is that kids don't yet have much of the cause and effect thinking available to them. So, there's a problem in not being able to think through as well the consequences of something."

And when you're on the outside, at the age of 7 or 8 it's harder to deal with the pain.

"Kids at that age haven't developed the coping strategies. hey don't have the ability to step back and appreciate what's going on the way that they would later on in adolescence."

And he says there's another problem when cliques begin at such a young age.

"If these behaviors start earlier and they are repeated more often, then there's certainly the risk of them becoming more a part of that child's personality."

Stanzi's made new friends, but she says the bullying and exclusion changed her.

"It's made me very withdrawn, anti-social. And that's not how I want to appear to the world. I want to appear as a kind person. Kind, open, friendly, and this all just changed that."