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    #195725 - 07/01/14 01:08 PM Help with social skills
    1frugalmom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 312
    Loc: Central United States
    I've recently noticed what I believe are some social issues with DD10. I don't really know if this is just age related girl issues or due to her giftedness, but she is "different" and "quirky", so I'm leaning more towards this being a gifted social issue. I guess it could be a little of both.

    We (DH and I) have always had some concerns about her social skills, but any time (over the years) we have asked her teachers or daycare providers they have told us she seems to be fine - she plays with the other kids and gets along okay.

    These are just two situations I've witnessed within the last couple weeks -
    1. DD had a new outfit she had been waiting for the right opportunity to wear. She finally decided to wear it to a summer-school day program with K-5th graders. There were about 8-10 kids milling around when I dropped DD8 and DD10 off. DD10 immediately turned to DD8 when it was time to get out of the vehicle and asked if she was coming - like DD10 needed backup from little sister. They got out of the car and DD8 walked right up to the other kids and started talking with them. FWIW - these are kids my kids have known all through their school years and some even before then. DD10 stood off to the side looking all smiley and hopeful, but slightly nervous. I could tell she was just waiting for someone to mention her outfit and maybe tell her they liked it, etc. Pretty soon when no one came up to her she crossed her arms over her chest and moped off. It about broke my heart and I could completely tell what was going on in her head. I asked her later that day if anyone said anything about her outfit and she told me a couple of the adults working the program said they liked it and a girl in K did too.

    2. DD10 had a softball game and was getting ready to warm up. She was called over by the coach to practice pitching with the other pitchers and after she had her turn pitching the coach told her to go play catch with the other players warming up out in the field. The other girls were all paired up throwing back and forth, so DD walked up to a couple girls (these were girls younger than DD10 that she has known for years) expecting them to play catch with her like the coach said. They wouldn't throw her the ball, so she just kept holding out her glove when girl 1 would throw the ball then again when girl 2 threw the ball. Each time girl 1 threw to girl 2 and girl 2 threw back to girl 1 and neither would throw to DD10. After holding her glove up and "calling" for the ball about 6-8 times, she threw her hands up and started to walk off. I again felt horrible for her, and maybe I shouldn't have, but I got up from the bleachers and went down to the field (this is small time recreation ball and parents are pretty involved). I grabbed a ball and said loud enough for all to hear - "I'll play catch with you!" I asked her after the game what was going on and she said they just wouldn't play catch with her and the coach had told her to play catch with them, so she was following his directions. She said she even told them that the coach told her to play catch with them and that didn't do her any good.

    These two incidents have really opened my eyes! I do think DD10 has some lacking social skills, but I have no idea how to help her. I've tried to give her suggestions on what to do next time or how she could of handled things differently. I want her to be able to feel confident and stand up for herself, but when I give her suggestions on how to be more assertive she looks at me like I'm crazy thinking she would ever be able to do what I've suggested.

    I probably was a lot like her and if these things had happened to me I would have just went on and ignored it. I always played with the boys which is what I always tell both my girls to do - if the other little girls are creating drama then go play with the boys. The difference between DD10 and me when I was that age is that I had a passion for sports and was a "go-getter". Being good at sports and working hard at it probably helped me socially. I was always asked to play up with the older girls and my hustle earned me their respect. DD10 doesn't have that same passion and is in her own little world a lot of the time when she is out on the field. She was spacing out just the other day during a game and when I reminded her she has to pay attention or she could get hurt and asked her what she was looking at, she told me there was a grasshopper out on the field (insert head slap). She likes to play though and she has some skill, so it isn't like we are forcing her to play when she doesn't want to.

    I've done a search on this forum and gone over older posts but I'm not seeing the information I need. How can you teach social skills without an actual social skills group? Our small town and rural area doesn't have any official social skills groups or any agency I know of that would have this type of service. I can talk to the school counselor when school starts back up in August, but I can't just leave it up to the school. DD10 is in all the sports available to her and she is involved in other clubs and organizations too. She gets plenty of opportunity to socialize. Is there a curriculum or program we could use as a family? I did come across a post that suggested "Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child" but the poster mentioned it was intended for use in a small group. Has anyone tried this or know of something we can try?

    Thanks in advance and sorry this post turned out so long - that wasn't my initial intent, but guess I got carried away.

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    #195729 - 07/01/14 01:22 PM Re: Help with social skills [Re: 1frugalmom]
    KathrynH Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/08/13
    Posts: 111
    I'm currently reading The Unwritten Rules of Friendship & I highly recommend it.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0316917303?pc_redir=1404110011&robot_redir=1

    HTH

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    #195737 - 07/01/14 02:07 PM Re: Help with social skills [Re: 1frugalmom]
    aeh Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3990
    If you want to try Skillstreaming, you can do it with your two DDs; they're close enough in age and skill. It does work better with at least three kids, as you can then have two in the role play, and one giving feedback, in addition to the adult giving feedback.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #195778 - 07/01/14 08:06 PM Re: Help with social skills [Re: 1frugalmom]
    NotSoGifted Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/14/12
    Posts: 453
    I think the first situation happens to a lot of kids. A kid is excited about something they just got, but others aren't sharing their joy. I would view it as a learning experience. As long as she got past it and enjoyed her day, I wouldn't worry.

    As for the softball, this type of thing happens a lot with girls. In fact, my eldest had some softball experiences like this when she was younger. Now, I don't think that included refusing to throw with a kid because these were more competitive situations (rec ball, but she went to Little League states with a couple of these teams) where the coach wouldn't stand for that. However, she didn't really feel included in the softball clique and these kids were not nice to her.

    Hopefully the coach sees what is going on and puts a stop to that behavior. We told our eldest that she didn't need to be best friends with these girls, but she needed to be respectful and polite. It took a while, but these kids finally apologized for their past behavior when they were playing HS ball. Just tell her to be polite, even if others are not. And it is okay to be a little quirky...I'm sure some of the teammates of DD18 and DD16 think they are a bit odd from time to time, but they find things in common with teammates - anything from a favorite snack to a favorite TV show - and it all works out.

    Do tell her to pay attention when she is in the field - and have the kid wear a Game Face fielder's mask (or similar) when she is playing in the infield.

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    #195796 - 07/02/14 06:50 AM Re: Help with social skills [Re: 1frugalmom]
    1frugalmom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 312
    Loc: Central United States
    Thanks for your responses KathrynH, aeh, and NotSoGifted.

    I'm going to try to get a copy of Unwritten Rules and the Skillstreaming to see where those will get us. Amazon has the Skillstreaming 3rd edition Guide for Teaching Prosocial Skills. Aeh do you think the Guide will be enough or should I get the Lessons Plans and Activities book too?

    Our softball season is wrapping up so I'm just going to keep an eye on things and see how the last few games go. I gave DD10 some suggestions for the girls not throwing to her and we tried to role play a little (this was mostly amusing to her and she giggled the entire time). We will see if she is able to stick up for herself and put anything I suggested to use.

    My examples above were just 2 of the more recent issues I've noticed and there is much more to it (like her baring her teeth and growling at kids when they try to tell her what to do - for instance). I want to get a better handle on this before she hits middle school and/or puberty because I'm afraid that will probably compound the problem.

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    #195802 - 07/02/14 08:34 AM Re: Help with social skills [Re: 1frugalmom]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    I may be missing something, but I don't know that I would interpret either situation as a "social skills" issue as much as learning how to deal with others who don't either share one's enthusiasm (first situation) or who are just plain rude (second situation) without getting too upset. I think she handled situation 2 perfectly. If those girls were ignoring both the coach's directions and her being there, absolutely no point in sticking around. The girls were the problem, not your DD.

    The teeth and growling thing is a bit more unusual, what does she say when asked about it?


    Edited by ConnectingDots (07/02/14 08:35 AM)

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    #195804 - 07/02/14 08:45 AM Re: Help with social skills [Re: 1frugalmom]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    I basically agree with ConnectingDots, though I would have encouraged my DD to seek the coach next time she has a similar issue on the softball field, rather than capitulate in the face of passive aggression.

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    #195805 - 07/02/14 08:53 AM Re: Help with social skills [Re: ConnectingDots]
    blackcat Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots
    I may be missing something, but I don't know that I would interpret either situation as a "social skills" issue as much as learning how to deal with others who don't either share one's enthusiasm (first situation) or who are just plain rude (second situation) without getting too upset. I think she handled situation 2 perfectly. If those girls were ignoring both the coach's directions and her being there, absolutely no point in sticking around. The girls were the problem, not your DD.

    The teeth and growling thing is a bit more unusual, what does she say when asked about it?


    I agree, and I'm not sure what she could have done differently about the ball throwing. She asked them to throw to her and they didn't so I'm not sure what else she could have done? Maybe she could have told the coach they wouldn't play with her, since it seems like bullying behavior, and let the coach deal with it?

    She is still pretty young at age 10 and I think a lot of girls that age are still pretty awkward socially. If she wasn't making friends, was by herself a lot of the time, or was being bullied regularly that would be different.

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    #195809 - 07/02/14 09:14 AM Re: Help with social skills [Re: ConnectingDots]
    1frugalmom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 312
    Loc: Central United States
    I debated what to title this when I started to post it. I think I decided on social skills because I do believe it is a matter of her not appropriately reacting to social situations or being assertive enough to stand up for herself in social situations. She is most definitely asynchronous when it comes to her social maturity level.

    Originally Posted By: ConnectingDots

    The teeth and growling thing is a bit more unusual, what does she say when asked about it?


    I think this is sometimes just her way of saying "leave me alone". She does it to us (DH and I) and I've seen her do it to peers also. She usually does it when DH or I are giving her some instruction or maybe just telling her something she doesn't want to hear. I think it is pretty much the same with peers. The times I've seen it was when another child was telling her what to do. She doesn't do it in a threatening way, but more of a silly, joking way. I've seen some kids just sort of play along with her, but others have really looked at her like she is from another planet.

    Dude and Blackcat - I think what I want to see is her standing up for herself in these types of situations. When we were going over the things she could have done differently I did mention she could have told the coach, but I would much rather she deal with it herself. I don't want her to end up being a "tattle-tale" or her running to tell the coach make her situation with the other girls worse.

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    #195811 - 07/02/14 10:12 AM Re: Help with social skills [Re: 1frugalmom]
    ElizabethN Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/17/12
    Posts: 1390
    Loc: Seattle area
    For what it's worth, my DD10 does the "bared teeth and growling" thing a lot, too. And I drove to the library yesterday to get Unwritten Rules - thanks for that recommendation!

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