Read the following social skills excerpt and activity developed by Dr. Mac (Thomas McIntire), which can be found at the Web page below.
Do any of these comments sound familiar?
"I tell him to stop doing that, but he keeps on doing it. Damn. This kid must have been raised by wolves!"
"That kid knows how she is supposed to behave. She CHOOSES to misbehave."
"I ask him what he is supposed to be doing and he can tell me. He knows better, so why isn't he doing it?"
Yep. Some kids know (intellectually) what to do, but they've never (physically) done it before. It's difficult for all of us to all-of-a-sudden display a completely different behavior than we've been showing for years. Changing a habit is no easy task. To get an idea of what it's like, try this activity:
Do the activity now (Yes...right now)
Cross your arms across your chest. Notice how one arm goes over the other with its hand tucked under its biceps (upper arm). At the same time, the hand of the lower arm has it's hand resting on top of the biceps of the other limb. OK, now switch the position of the arms so that the one that was on the bottom is now on the top (and vice versa). All right. It took you awhile, but you were able to do it. Feel a bit uncomfortable and odd? Now, uncross the arms and fold them again in the new way. Again. And again. In fact, for the rest of your life, do it this new way. Don't ever make a mistake or revert to the old way.
Think that'll be difficult? Yep. Now imagine what we are asking our socially unskilled kids to do. We're expecting them to immediately change a behavior that is indelibly etched into their brains, feels "comfortable," and has been "assigned" to them by others who have labeled them as the type of person who "does that thing." Kids who display the wrong behaviors as they interact with others will have a long and arduous path to travel as they work to change to a "better way." Thank goodness they have a patient and supportive teacher like you.
For the rest of this article, see this Web link:
Teaching Social Skills to Kids Who Don't Have Them (Dr. Mac)
After reviewing this material, write a summary in the essay box provided.