Supporting Parents. Fostering Change.

Monthly Archives: February 2013

By Bob Axelrod, LCSW

When you listen to your kids talk about school and their friends, does it sometimes feel like they are part of a secret society that we, as parents, cannot understand? Have you watched a group of middle schoolers interact with each other? There are so many unspoken rules of communication between them. There is face to face interaction, online exchanges, ways to behave in groups of just boys, groups of just girls and of course when boys and girls are together. For a “typical” child, these different scenarios are hard to manage. For quirky teens-ones who may lack fundamental social skills, it is easy to imagine how they quickly become outsiders in their own peer group.

So the question becomes, how can a child learn these elusive rules? The answer is actually the same as it would be if he were learning to play soccer, earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, or mastering a new language. It takes enormous effort and practice. For teens with little social acumen, effort and practice are just as important. As a therapist for over 30 years, I have seen this in action. I have watched these kids work at making friends, having conversations and reading social cues from others.

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Posted in Middle School, Social Skill Development | Comments off

Dear Cathi,

I am so frustrated with my son. I could scream! He is very bright and perfectly capable of doing well in school. My wife and I put no pressure on him to get good grades, but we would like him to put in his best effort. Instead, he clowns around in class, rushes through his assignments, and then fails to turn in his homework assignments IF he does complete them. He complains constantly of being “bored.” My wife and I believe that the classes at school may not be stimulating enough for him. Because he’s bored, he misbehaves. What do you think?

Jack H.

Read Cathi’s response here.

Posted in Dear Cathi, Gifted Child, Underachiever | Comments off