“Social coaches” and co-authors Shea and Briggs (How to Make and Keep Friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges, 2010) present easy-to-follow suggestions that parents can use to help kids in sticky social situations.
The phrase “use your words” takes on fresh resonance here, as language is the primary driver in these tips for encouraging children to solve a variety of problems ranging from missing social cues to dealing with poor sportsmanship. The focus is on adult intervention—for parents to step in early and coach their kids through minor issues before they become entrenched. The first section, “Understanding Barriers to Friendships,” presents a range of potential problems and divides each into three components: Barrier, Coaching Suggestion, and Suggested Social Language. The second section, “A Parent’s Role as Social Coach,” suggests solutions that parents can implement for play dates gone awry, sleepover snafus, and other after-school mishaps. The last section, “Key Phrases and Social Coaching Examples,” outlines phrases that can be suggested to kids in potentially troublesome situations. While the differences among the sections aren’t very clear, and much of the third section repeats previous concepts, this is an impressive, handy resource. It suggests solutions for easily recognizable difficulties, such as aggression or shyness, as well as more subtle ones, such as “not understanding humor” or “rigid thinking.” And while the authors recommend the book for “kids of all ages with mild to moderate social challenges,” it’s difficult to imagine a teenager taking this advice seriously or appreciating overt parent intervention. Valuable reading nevertheless, the ideas for social success may also help those struggling to understand the verbal nuances of American culture.
A useful guide for helping kids navigate social cues and channel emotions.