Have playtime with your children, either separately if it is possible for you, or together, designating the "leader" for a certain period of time. Again, such designations are in line with fairness in relationships.
Take the responsibility to know if each of your children has his or her emotional needs met by taking the Emotional Availability Self- Assessment for each of them to see if each child is secure in his or her relationship with you. It is easier to resolve issues with these healthy emotional connections with you than without them. If the emotional connection with any of your children needs work, do that work simultaneously -- don't sidestep it, Take that responsibility!
Through your own example and through discussions with your children, help each of them learn to emit appropriate emotional signals (mostly positive) and learn to read others' emotional signals. For example, when a child frequently feels rejected by his or her friends, withdraws from interactions, and cannot talk about it for a long time (and these friends behaviors do not objectively seem rejecting and/or they try very hard to be inclusive), you might work with your child to try reacting in more appropriate ways, ways that match the intensity of the situation. Instead of sulking endlessly, she can be coached to verbally express, "Hey, I don't like it when you exclude me, so please try not to, okay?" and then move on with interactions, rather than being stuck in silent treatment.
Zeynep Biringen, Ph.D., is the foremost researcher on emotional availability in parent-child relationships. An associate professor at Colorado State University and a licensed child psychologist, she also maintains a private practice and consults for the courts and mental health professionals. She is the creator of The Emotional Availability Scales, the system for scientifically understanding parent-child connections, which is used worldwide.
Copyright © Zeynep Biringen. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.