Magazine article Working Mother

Forging Friendships

Magazine article Working Mother

Forging Friendships

Article excerpt

Kids need buddies. But for some reason, yours doesn't get playdate invites and rarely talks about other kids at school. His teacher says he's a good student but has few friends, so what gives?

Sometimes, it's more than just personalities. Three behavioral factors can prevent kids from connecting socially, according to recent research from Rush Neurobehavioral Center in Chicago: failing to pick up on nonverbal and social cues (like a shoulder slump signaling disappointment); noticing these cues but not interpreting them; and being unable to respond and react to these signals appropriately. These can spur social rejection, which in turn can lead to academic, behavioral and mental-health problems, says lead study author Clark McKown, PhD.

If you think your child struggles with these issues, consider having him assessed professionally. A therapist can help him learn communication skills and offer you ways to reinforce them. If your child does seem to notice and understand social cues but doesn't respond well, adds Dr. McKown: "Set clear expectations about behavior with peers, reward that behavior, ignore small missteps, and remove misbehaving children from the scene to help increase positive interactions." -ilisa cohen

[Sidebar]

Weird Science

When you help your child with homework, do you shy away from science? only about half of parents are very familiar with their kids' science studies, according to a survey by the National science teachers association. "some parents might not have had a rewarding experience with science education growing up," says executive director Francis eberle, phD. …

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