Cognitive Story Audio:
Hard to Make Friends
This is a cognitive story for children. The purpose is to help children learn how to handle different situations.
A cognitive story teaches children how to think rationally about problems that commonly occur in childhood.
These stories are often good at bedtime because the end of the story focuses on relaxing and drifting off to sleep.
This audio is a conversation between a wise old parrot and a child. The parrot advises the child when the child is feeling
sad because it is hard to make friends. This story is to help the child know that nothing is wrong with him or her. Also,
it encourages the child to keep trying to be friendly with others. The story the audio is based on is also listed below so that it can be read to a child.
As told by Carol Watkins, professional storyteller
. Written by Dr. Monica Frank.
Transcript: Hard to Make Friends
As you get in bed you are thinking about how hard it is to make friends. It seems like everyone already has friends they play with and they don't invite you to play. You lie back on your pillows and try to go to sleep. You try to breathe slowly and relax so you can go to sleep. But you keep thinking about making friends and why other kids don't like you. It is hard to relax and drift off to sleep when you are feeling sad. You are hoping that your friend, the parrot, will stop by because you need to talk.
Soon, you hear the fluttering of wings as your friend lands on the windowsill. “Squawk! I really missed you today! I like being with you,” the parrot says.
“You're the only one,” you say sadly. “No one else likes me.”
“It sounds like we need to talk about this,” the parrot says. “Let's go to our special place.”
You follow the parrot along the path winding through the park. All around you the silver-leafed trees are quivering in the gentle breeze. You hear the rustling sound the leaves make as they shake in a little leaf dance. The parrot stops on a hillside of lavender grass which smells so sweet and makes you feel kind of sleepy. The parrot spreads its wings of red, and yellow, and blue, and green, and invites you to sit on the grass. You sit down in the soft cushion of grass which feels as cozy as your bed.
The parrot asks, “What is the problem?”
You say, “No one invites me to play with them. No one likes me.”
“Do you invite them to play?”
“I used to,” you say. “But they were already playing with other kids and didn't want to play with me. So I don't ask them anymore.”
“Why don't you ask anymore?” questions the parrot.
“Because it hurts when they don't want to play with me. It makes me feel bad and wonder what's wrong with me and I don't want to feel that way.”
The parrot responds, “Sure it hurts when someone doesn't want to be your friend but it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you. It could be that they already have enough friends and they might not have time for a new friend. Or, they just don't have the same interests as you. Or, they are shy with new people so they just stick to their old friends. But there is nothing wrong with you.”
“But they sound so mean when they say they don't want to play. Like, they say 'I don't want to play with YOU.'”
“You're right,” agrees your friend. “Some kids are mean when they refuse to be your friend. Sometimes that is just because they haven't learned good social skills yet. A lot of people have trouble saying “no” to someone so when they do it comes across in a mean way.”
“So I shouldn't feel bad when someone doesn't like me?”
“Feeling sad or hurt is normal when someone doesn't like you or doesn't want to play with you,” explains the parrot. “But feelings don't have to last forever and by understanding that nothing is wrong with you, it will be easier to get over feeling bad. But let out your feelings like you are doing now by talking to me. Don't keep thinking about it but try again. Every time you try is a new experience and you will get better and better at it.”
“It's scary to try to be friends with someone. What if no one ever likes me?” you ask.
“I know that when you are shy you just want to avoid and not have to feel uncomfortable. But if you make the effort over time it will become easier and easier,” explains your friend. “Avoiding prevents you from making friends because when you are hiding not too many people will look for you.”
“I'm such a loser. I'm so stupid no one would want to be friends with me.”
“Awk! Don't be mean to yourself!” squawks the parrot. “You can feel sad but don't call yourself names. There is nothing wrong with you just because someone doesn't want to be your friend. Don't call yourself those names or you might start believing them.”
“But I DO believe them,” you say.
“Then you need to start saying nicer things about yourself. The problem is that when you say things like that about yourself or if you think someone isn't going to like you, you might create what you are thinking.”
“What do you mean?” you ask.
“I mean that if you think no one will like you, then you might act in a way that causes them to not like you. For example, you might not talk to them and then they think you are stuck up and don't like them.”
“But that's not true!” you protest.
“I know it's not true and you know it's not true. But they don't know that,” explains the parrot. “Just like you think certain things about them that isn't true, they do the same thing.”
“What should I do?” You feel the cushion of grass beneath you as you look up into the pink and orange and red sky. You notice the different colors and shapes of the clouds as they float by. It feel so good in your special place.
“There are people who will like you,” says the parrot. “But if you go up to only one person and try to be friendly, what's the chance that they will become your friend? Maybe, maybe not. But if you go up to ten people and be friendly, you have a greater chance of becoming a friend with one or more of them. And the rest are more likely to think of you as a friendly person.”
“That seems so hard,” you say. “The more people I try to be friends with, the more that some of them might be mean to me.”
“That's true, but give yourself credit for trying. A lot of people when they are afraid don't even try. But it is better to try and fail because at least you are learning and will get better at it. If you don't try, you won't make friends,” says the parrot. “But if you do try you will make some friends even if not everyone becomes your friend.”
“I guess I can try,” you say. “The worst thing that could happen is that I don't make friends but that is already happening. If I keep trying, someone will become my friend.”
“And that would make it worth it,” says the parrot.
“Yeah,” you agree.
The parrot spreads its wings and lifts off into the pink sky. You get up from the cushy grass and start walking back down the path. Soon, your friend circles down and flies next to your shoulder. All around you the sunlight is sparkling and butterflies are fluttering from flower to flower. You think about what the parrot has told you. You know that someone will like you if you keep trying to make friends. As long as you keep trying they will think of you as a friendly person. And you're not going to call yourself names anymore.
Your mind is a little quieter because what you know what you can do now. When you get to your room, you snuggle back into your bed feeling drowsy and close your eyes. You can relax a little now and fall asleep. You focus on taking a slow breath and noticing the muscles in your chest move with each breath. Those muscles begin to relax with each breath you take. You notice the air coming into your body as you take a slow breath and you notice the air leaving your body. You feel your muscles relaxing more and more.
You snuggle deeper in your cozy bed. As you continue to breathe slowly your body relaxes. You feel yourself beginning to become drowsy. It feels so good to snuggle in your bed! You feel yourself drifting, drifting, drowsy, and relaxing. You feel as if you are drifting off to sleep, so drowsy, feels so good.
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