poor social skills and odd behaviour??

Renee - posted on 07/18/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 8 this year, she has very poor social skills for example the other day she told a kid in the playground that they were disgusting and spat at them, she makes rude comments on what the other kids are eating for lunch, calls other kids stupid. Tells her friends that if they dont want to play her game then she wont be friends with them any more.
Her odd behaviour has to do with smelling everything, from the bath water to kangaroo droppings, she smells her own ear wax, paper, people's arms and bodies.
I have spoken to the teacher about this and they have suggested a program that they run through the school to assist kids learn about social skills, has anyone heard of this before?
Its not just at school either her little brother who is 6 cops it all the time. We are aware about spending time with her and praising her when she does the right thing and not making a huge deal over the bad stuff (i just send her to her room and then we talk about what happened) and we do fun stuff like play lego, colour in and we do craft together etc, so im not thinking its about attention.
She doesnt seem to understand the difference between right and wrong behaviour and nothing seems to sink in. We have many conversations regarding this and how would she feel if someone calls her stupid etc but that seems to go in one ear and out the other.
Any suggestions

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Julie - posted on 07/21/2013

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Hi Renee, I have to be honest and tell you, the first paragraph you wrote describing your daughters behavior is not considered "poor social skills" it is called being a bully. Poor social skills are when children do not know how to approach, integrate, communicate or engage in social activities with their peers. Your daughter sounds like she is dictating, controlling, and making others feel bad in an attempt to make herself look and feel better. It is an elementary approach, many kids use it, or learn it, to find status, friendships, or false sense of self esteem but it is not appropriate or healthy for anyone.
I suggest you start to call her out immediately when acting this way, place her in a "time out" (not her bedroom or place with distractions, but in isolation within your line of sight if public setting, for 8 minutes. You instruct her that during this time she is to
(1) think about what she did, (2) why she did/said it and (3) give one example of a better way she could and should have handled the situation for future use.
This is when we the parent do our duty to educate re: appropriate behavior, feelings, apologies and forgiveness. After 8 minutes If she "doesn't know" any or all the answers, then you tell her she may "sit there in time out until she figures it out" They usually suddenly "remember" (#3) you can brain storm together if needed, this is the carry over to learn from mistakes which is vital to the time out process.
After a calm, direct but loving conversation; the "consequence" should also be immediate. For example: "going and apologizing" or "writing an apology letter" letting them "go first" or "giving them her cupcake" Paying them a compliment. Doing a good deed.
Some sort of sacrifice and statement to acknowledge wrong doing (yes she will be embarrassed, maybe even humiliated but there is nothing wrong with a little humility to make us conscious of other peoples feelings and keeping us grounded.
The other things you mentioned like, "not making a big deal about bad stuff" says to me, why would she change the behavior? And, If you are rewarding her with "private room time, one on one conversation with mom and playing " it is not a punishment in the eyes of a child, it is a pay off.
These thing, even though you have good intentions as a loving mother are probably why she "doesn't seem to know the difference and it's just not sinking in."
Consistency with discipline and consequences along with carry over (teaching new ways) is the key to developing a more mature, sympathetic child.
I leave you with this thought as a fellow mother. "Actions speak louder than words." Teach her by placing her in the direct line of fire that she is shooting at, and it will sink in!

3 Comments

View replies by

Joy - posted on 07/23/2013

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I'm no expert but can you check what is she watching on TV regularly usually this affects the child behavior big time.

Renee - posted on 07/22/2013

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Thanks Julie, its so hard to know what to do these days, there are so many programs for parents to help their kids, some say there is a right way and a wrong way of doing things. I agree with you as hard as it is to admit, my daughter is turning into a bully. I like to idea of getting her to write an apology letter or some sort of good deed. I have spoken to her and asked her how she would like it she just crys at me. I dont fall for it though but then again i guess i do because i send her to her room instead of making her own the problem.
I will do as you suggested with 8 minutes in the timeout chair and get her to think about her behaviour and what she is saying. would you use the chair every time? i mean like when she is being bossy with her brother like telling him to go and brush his teeth??

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