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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How do you teach a child to make friends?

I had a good Mommy cry yesterday, and a good look inside myself. Our 6yo is going through evaluation for ADD. It's something that I always suspected was the case, but seeing the evaluation forms and the in class monitoring reports has been very difficult. Our son is doing fine academically, and it appears that he is a very happy, smiley inquisitive child at school. He also appears to be quite loved by the teachers and staff for his sunny disposition and unique personality. Unfortunately, his lack of impulse control and his ability to disrupt the class and distract the other kids has made him quite unpopular with his peers. Here I go, I'm starting to tear up again as I write this---as a mom, I want the very best for my child--to be able to meet his needs, physically, emotionally and spiritually. And I want him to have a wonderful childhood with friends that want to be with him. It's very hard to acknowledge that he's struggling in this area.

I want to be able to positively affect change for my son and help teach him the behaviors and social skills that will help him be more accepted by the other children. My first thought is to show him through example. That's when I hang my own head and have to admit that I'm not the best example. I've let my career consume my time outside of family life, and since most of our family and closer friends live out of state, we've never really developed a close circle of friends here. I have many people that I know through work and who we see socially on occasion, but I don't think those would be big examples for him.

I sort of feel like I can't just talk the talk, but I'm going to have to walk the walk and try to develop some relationships and scenarios where we can both be better at interacting and being social. Going to be doing some reading and looking for some books on the subject on Amazon---think they have "How to Make Friends and Influence People- First Grade Edition" ?

I sure hope we can turn this moment into a positive opportunity for us both.

6 comments:

Phoebe said...

Michelle--

I totally know how you feel. As a matter of fact my son was 6 years old when he started going through the evaluations for ADHD. It can be a very emotional process with all the paper work, evaluations, and self examination (atleast I know I did TONS of this--and still do). My son and your son sounds so familiar! We are in the same situation of being away from family/friends. We've lived in our current location for almost years--and have just decided that we should get out and try to socialize more.

I've noticed a big change in Nicholas since we started occupational therapy. I highly recommend it.

I wish you and your family the best--if you ever need an ear (to vent, to scream, to cry, to talk it out) I'm here for you. I've been in your shoes and I'm still walking it. I don't always walk the walk the way I should--but I try.

Blessings!

Kristen said...

I have spent time lately playing a similar game and feeling guilty. My 6 year old is struggling at school and hasn't really caught onto reading like the other kids in his class. Because I was working so hard at my last job, I didn't give this enough attention. But staying home for a few weeks and trying to help him with his homework shed a whole new light on my lack of parenting, and I know this is completely my fault. Getting laid off was hard on me, but it has really turned into a blessing. It opened my eyes and I think I can start to reverse some of this and help my son to learn and possibly catch up. If not, then he repeats 1st grade which makes me sad but I will do whatever is best for him so he isn's struggling.

And now you have that same chance. You see it while he is still young and now you can do something to help.

You might want to try some play dates. 6 year olds aren't too hard to socialize. I'll bet if you asked your son who he wanted to play with, he would tell you, and once that child has been to your house to play, they will bond. Keep it up and he will have some friends. In the process you might make some too, with their parents!

Michelle said...

thank you. Yes, I've been thinking about play dates and other activities....and other "family" things we can get everyone involved in.

Kristen said...

I really hope the best for you and your son. It is hard to watch your child struggle, no matter what area it is in. I hope all the testing will give you the medical information you need to move forward.

Good luck with trying out play dates.

cheapbychoice said...

Do not be so hard on yourself. You are doing a great job as a parent. We mothers quickly send ourselves on a guilt trip when we do not need to. ADD is not your fault! Remember you are having him evaluated so you will know best how to help him. That makes you a great mother! Gives yourself credit for the good things you do!

Kaycee said...

Wow, I'm going through something similar with my oldest.

I definitely think that teaching by example is the way to go, but it's hard to juggle everything.

As far as networking goes, check out Yahoo Groups.

I've recently started scoping out local churches, even though I'm on the fence about actually believing, I do see how church offers valuable opportunities for socializing that we are sorely missing.

Also, with spring coming there are more opportunities for team sports, like soccer and t-ball.

I hope you find something that works for you.