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Cliques

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WSVN -- For kids, the need to fit in starts early in life.

Boston, young girl: "There was this girl, and I really wanted to be her friend because she seemed like really cool, and she had a lot of friends, but once I met her, she was like really mean to me."

But the desire to be popular also includes the heartbreak of rejection.

Boston, young girl: "At recess, when people don't talk to me, they leave me out. There's this one group some people always want to hang out with."

Being left out hurts.

Kelly Snisky: "With Jane, when she was in first grade, we had tons of problems with girls saying, 'You can't play, you're not pretty enough.'"

It may sound like small stuff, but some experts say it's not.

Dr. Lea DeFrancisci Lis, NYU Child Study Center: "It can be devastating for kids to feel they have no one on their side."

Experts say parents can help. Talk about your own experiences, so your child knows you went through it too.

Be positive, accentuate your child's good qualities, and organize fun activities with kids who have similar interests.

Dr. Lea DeFrancisci Lis: "You really are allowed to be a private investigator in your child's life. You can't just take a backseat."

But parents need to strike a balance.

Dr. Lea DeFrancisci Lis: "Kids need to have opportunities to navigate a little bit and to learn how to establish good friendships with people."

The best advice for parents: Watch your kids closely and stay involved, so if a problem comes up you are there to help out.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Dr. Valerie Goodewww.drvaleriegoode.com

Kids health and cliqueshttp://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/cliques.html

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