Friday, April 8, 2011

Making Friends... Just Like Every Other Kid

Recently, I succumbed to the arm twisting of my sister and started watching The Big Bang Theory. I didn't have aything against this show specifically, I'm just not a fan of sitcoms or comedies. When people ask why, I say that I don't like to laugh but that's not true. I am just easily bored. Most comedies don't have enough meat to the story line to keep my interest but I have to say, Big Bang Theory may be the exception.

So many of Sheldon's quirks are amplified issues that we face with Dude and that in makes the whole premise of the show hilarious to us. His obsessive behaviour, scientific approach to social situations and total oblivion to how his words and actons impact the people around him are all too familiar to our eveyday life but nothing hit closer to home than the Friendship Algorithm scene. Sheldon's flow chart had me in stitches, especially how he got stuck in a loop.

When Dude was about seven years old we sat down and drew a very similar chart to help him understand what it takes to make a friend. We included some conflict management strategies and problem solving tips.We tought we had him covered but he was still hving trouble with friends. After a little digging we discovered that we had not given him a way out, he did not know how to continue in a situation when the other child did not respond in a way we had practiced. He was getting stuck in the loop, panicking and walking away from his friends, leaving them feeling like he didn't like them. Oy!

Thankfully, as he has matured making friends has become easier for him. We still have to remind him to think of the other person's interests, to be flexible in making plans and to respond when his friends talk to him, even if what they are saying is boring to him. We have taught him to initiate conversations appropriatey and we have spent some time talking about how to graciously handle awkward social stuations and what to do if people react in a way he doesn't expect.

He has had some successes and some setbacks in his friendships, just like every other kid his age but I am confident that as he continues to mature he'll find his own way to navigate through this friendship making thing and until then, we'll keep trying to teach him and guide him ... just like every other parent.

"A friend is a person that you meet and you like to do some of the same things but not all of the same things but it is most important to meet a friend who is always kind and will like you no matter what kind of brain you have."

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