Guest post by Susan Diamond, MA,CCC
Many parents feel at a loss when their school-aged child tells them they are having trouble with friends at school. If a child shares that they are being teased, some parents don’t know what to do, especially if the teaser is a friend. Parents feel worried for their child and want everything to be symbiotic. They want the teaser to stop so that their child’s school life can be socially fun. Many times, parents try to solve the social problem for them, but most children know that this does not work. When their parents contact the friend’s parents to discuss the issues, the peer says the teasing will stop; however, it does not. Sometimes it makes the child more alienated.
Another situation is when a child is sad because a best friend says they are no longer friends, which is usually not true. Children manipulate situations to feel strong, powerful, and in control. They may dominate or say mean things because they are in a bad mood that day. It may have nothing to do with the friendship, but instead, they are just acting out in pain or anger. It may be that they are trying to be funny or trying to get the other kids to laugh. They may just want to play with someone else that day. For children who understand the social at school, they may be sad, but they also know that tomorrow their best friend will play/hang with them. For children who lack the social insight, they may be devastated and remove themselves from future interactions. So what is a parent to do? Parents need to give their child the words and actions to solve the social situations by themselves.
Here are some social skills tips to help:
- Discuss a social situation before it occurs. Problem-solve what can occur and how it can be handled and then role-play it.
- Talk about how to respond when being teased. You can ignore or answer back, “you wish” or “wow that was mean.” Do not get upset.
- Talk about rumors. You may not know if it is true or you may be getting tricked. Each them not to pass the rumor as it can be hurtful.
- Talk about being a victim (someone who is teased often) and how to change the role by being strong and keeping the power.
- Talk about negotiating at school. When playing tag, if you are told to be “it” three times in a row, you can say, “I was it last time; it is someone else’s turn to be it.”
- Teach that when asking to play, a child may say no. The child may not be in the mood that day. Say, “Okay” and walk away.
- Role-play how to say a response with the right tone of voice and the right body language.
- Discuss being a good friend and that your child’s behaviors affect whether someone wants to be a friend.
Susan Diamond, M.A.,CCC is a licensed speech-language pathologist with a private practice in Alameda, California. She provides diagnosis and treatment of language delays and disorders and specializes in social language skills. Sue enjoys over twenty five years experience in the field and is the author of “Social Rules for Kids”, aapcpublishing.net, “Language Lessons In The Classroom” and co-author of “Webs For Language”, eclpublications.com. She has been on T.V. as an expert on social skills and has produced a DVD called “Diamond Social Skills.” Please visit Susan’s website for more information on social skills at http://www.diamondlanguage.com and Twitter and Facebook @ Diamond Language.