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Thread: Can you teach social skills?

  1. #1
    Master
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    Can you teach social skills?

    This is a genuine question.

    I think I give my son the support and nurturing that he needs, but in recent weeks, as a 6 year old, heís been getting picked on at school - mentally more than physically (although he has come back with a few proper bruises).

    Heís more into playing with the girls and doesnít like football etc so he doesnít naturally fit in with the boys but his teacher has told my wife today that he probably needs to work on his social skills.

    It is evident that he stands up for himself but it appears that one kid in his class is ringleader with another six or so kids getting involved as and when. Frankly, the sort of thing Iíd expect to see in secondary school.

    Aside from forcing him to watch football etc, Iíd be interested in some practical views on how to help here. My thoughts are going down like a lead balloon with my Wife!


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  2. #2
    Grand Master VDG's Avatar
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    The best social skills he can learn are jab, cross and uppercut. Thank me later.
    Last edited by VDG; 9th November 2018 at 15:55.
    AVDACES FORTVNA IVVAT

  3. #3
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Second time in as many days I mention the word, but Aikido is good at that age and onwards.
    The school should have small groups learning social skills but itís very, very PC.
    Well, everybody in Casablanca has problems. Yours may work out.

  4. #4
    I would ask the teacher to give me examples where my son's social skills lack... and what he should do instead. A lot of kids are modest, not into football etc. That's no reason to have him work on his skills. When there's a leader who's picking on him, the teacher should focus on that. When you're 6 y/o and (already) picking on kids, you need to learn to 'contain' that behaviour! When it's not controlled - and he's successful picking on others, it will be a potential bully! THAT's a job for the teacher.

    My youngest used to be (and still is) a quiet, friendly boy. He's diagnosed with Asperger. He too lacks social skills on some points, but always find friends in class who help him. Somehow, he friendliness is always 'rewarded' with friendly people. Perhaps he was always lucky.

    I wonder, would the teacher say/ask the same thing when your kid was in another class, one without a ring-leader...

    Having said that, there are tested and proven programs for kids to develop skills. The 'Rock and Water Program' is one of them. Be advised: it's not only training the kid(s), the whole family gets involved. Sometimes there are great programs combining martial arts with self-esteem development programs. Sadly, this is often up to the enthusiasm of the martial arts teacher.

    https://www.rockandwater.org.uk
    Last edited by thieuster; 9th November 2018 at 16:25.

  5. #5
    It's a lot more to do with bullying by others than the social skills of your son.

    I'd recommend you make an appointment to speak to the head of the school and relay the facts about the ringleader and others. The issue is not about self-defence but about the bullying: he shouldn't have to be fighting back against one or more fellow pupils, they shouldn't be attacking him.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  6. #6
    Team sports are the way to go. Find something he's good at - confidence boost, social interaction, external group of friends all in one.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tahiti View Post
    This is a genuine question.

    I think I give my son the support and nurturing that he needs, but in recent weeks, as a 6 year old, heís been getting picked on at school - mentally more than physically (although he has come back with a few proper bruises).

    Heís more into playing with the girls and doesnít like football etc so he doesnít naturally fit in with the boys but his teacher has told my wife today that he probably needs to work on his social skills.

    It is evident that he stands up for himself but it appears that one kid in his class is ringleader with another six or so kids getting involved as and when. Frankly, the sort of thing Iíd expect to see in secondary school.

    Aside from forcing him to watch football etc, Iíd be interested in some practical views on how to help here. My thoughts are going down like a lead balloon with my Wife!


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    This makes me sad.

    Ask the teacher about the school's safeguarding policy and what the school is prepared to do ensure your son is learning in a safe environment. That should (hopefully) remind the teacher/s of their responsibility.

    I hope this resolves itself soon. Best of luck.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seadweller75 View Post
    This makes me sad.

    Ask the teacher about the school's safeguarding policy and what the school is prepared to do ensure your son is learning in a safe environment. That should (hopefully) remind the teacher/s of their responsibility.

    I hope this resolves itself soon. Best of luck.
    This is good advice - good luck

  9. #9
    Craftsman
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    Not one to bash teachers but it sounds like they are neither challenging the bullies nor helping your son with the development of the social skills (which they haven't even bothered to define/explain).

    Looks like you have some good advice from other posters and I hope it helps.

  10. #10
    Master
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    Iím in agreement with Ralph. Your boy should be able to go to school without worrying about Ďfitting iní.
    If heís not interested in sports, he shouldnít have to be pushed into it just to become one of the lads and be accepted.
    I hate bullying and make no mistake about it, if your boy is coming home from school with bruises that are not from regular rough and tumble play (my seven year old is really clumsy and always bumping himself) then he is already being bullied.
    Put a stop to it now. Donít let the teachers palm you off with the Ďthere is no bullying going on in this schoolí crap.
    If itís not nipped in the bud, it could easily escalate and your son will end up hating school.

  11. #11
    Master Der Amf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 200mwaterresistant View Post
    Team sports are the way to go. Find something he's good at - confidence boost, social interaction, external group of friends all in one.
    Get him involved in drama - fantastic at building confidence, and lots of fun at the same time.

  12. #12
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Iíd agree to try and teach a 6 year old social skills? But only if they brush up on their how to deal with bullying procedure.

    Donít sit back, get onto the school and force the bullying question and ask them what they will do to ensure that your son is protected!

  13. #13
    Craftsman
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    I teach in a pretty tough school but Iím struggling to think of any significant instances of bullying/children being picked on in the four years Iíve worked there. What is it exactly your son is experiencing?

  14. #14
    Master
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    Thank you all.

    We are lucky that he does stand up for himself, and Iíve seen this in action myself.

    Iím going to try to have a chat with the ring leaders Dad and see how that goes. Iíve met him before and weíve spoken in the past. I donít get the impression heís an idiot so letís hope Iím right.

    Iím then on to the school if it doesnít resolve itself naturally.

    The upper cut approach is exactly the approach Iíve been suggesting over the past week or so, but I think it might actually backfire (and ironically get him in to trouble).


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  15. #15
    In my experience with my children they both went through a similar experience but it didnít last has they had a different group of friends every week,kept 1-2 close friends for ages,unfortunately the give them a slap doesnít work anymore as the school tells the kids theyíll be in trouble if they do ,makes the kids more scared of the school than the parents,hope you get it sorted


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  16. #16
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    As some have already suggested, this is completely back on the school and how they deal with the kids who are bullying. This is absolutely not about your son correcting his behavior.

    I am amazed that this is happening, having seen our kids enter the school system (now 5 and 7 years old) I am conscious of how much has changed over the years. Bullying really isn't evident in their school, the boys learn to be empathetic, they look after each other, hold hands, hug.... very different to the schools I knew.

    ...dont forget the "bully(s)" are just kids too, they are learning boundaries and what is and isn't acceptable. Kids need to learn what behaviour is appropriate and actively teaching that a thump is a solution to a problem isn't going to help them through life, not really.

  17. #17
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 200mwaterresistant View Post
    Team sports are the way to go. Find something he's good at - confidence boost, social interaction, external group of friends all in one.
    I've always viewed dinghy sailing/racing in that respect.

  18. #18
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear that your son is having problems. Not excuse for bullying others.

    Talking to your son's teachers about their anti-bullying policies is a good start. I would not speak the ring leader's parent unless you have sufficient evidence and unless the teachers are present. Otherwise I can see that ending badly.

    As for social skills a martial arts are excellent simply because it can generate considerable self confidence. I would also suggest joining a Swimming Club or perhaps mini Rugby - which has both girls and boys. However try to pick something that interests your son. In the past 10 years my son has done Swimming, archery, football, badminton, photography, trampoline, rugby, golf, guitar, plus a few others. He is now 16 and still very much enjoys this Rugby and Badminton and is currently studying for his Grade 3 guitar (in between playing video games and seeing his girlfriend and eating us out of house and home. .

    Rugby this Sunday against Midsummer Norton - should be good.

    Hope you find a solution that fits.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  19. #19
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    Definitely take the school to task about what they're doing to stop the bullying.

    With my lad if anything happens I now take the stance don't start it but do finish it. That's backed up by the first questions from me being did you hit them back? (Good lad) Did they cry? (Good lad) I love you, don't let anyone put their hands on you. It sounds harsh but his first response needed to be swift retaliation as the school did nothing and being afraid of breaking the rules (not fighting back) made him a victim. Not a bad school by any means but kids will be kids.

  20. #20
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    If he's not interested in football, don't force that interest as he will likely resent you for it later.

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