- One young man recently said he wasn’t impressed by the nice things his parents were saying about him during a consultation with me. When I questioned him about that, he said, “When they say those nice things, I just think about all the times I haven’t done them!” As we further discussed his perceptions, it seemed that he didn’t realize that no one is perfect, and that although everyone has both strengths and challenges, we typically are not consistent in those. While a person may be mostly kind, he/she might still say or do unkind things occasionally. And a person who is characterized as being honest might not always be 100% honest. The important thing is that we learn to acknowledge our mistakes, and the times we hurt others, so that we can respond in a way that helps to repair the damage or heal the hurts.
- One mom who is working to meet the expectations of the court so that she can be reunited with her son indicated that she doesn’t know what activities to do with him during her parenting time. As we talked further, it also became clear that she didn’t fully understand the expectations of her social worker and probation officer. Now that she has a better understanding of what they’re looking for, and strategies she can use to be successful, she has much more control over her choices and the outcomes!
- Recently one of our students made arrangements to eat lunch with a new colleague during break time at his job. Although he had to step outside his comfort zone to make those plans, he said, “Laurel said we should do this. Now I have a new friend!”
- Many of our students fail to implement regular/daily hygiene practices which would ensure that they look and smell clean and presentable. Without coaching from parents and social coaches, they often remain mystified as to why they struggle to find or maintain employment or friendship opportunities. Certain changes like showering regularly, wearing deodorant, brushing teeth, and making sure hair and clothing is neat and clean can create new opportunities for connecting with other people!
- Many parents use our coaching services for help managing difficult behaviors at home. A “social understanding” approach helps to ensure that the parents are first considering the reasons for their children’s behaviors, then helps the parents establish and define—in a way their children can understand-- reasonable expectations, strategies for meeting those, and appropriate consequences (both positive and negative). Both parents and children feel empowered to successfully navigate their ever-changing relationship, and the tools they develop can also be used with other relationships!
Yes, “social” is complicated! No two people are the same, and no two social interactions are exactly alike! But we can all continue to add to our toolbox of useful strategies for understanding ourselves and other people, and for responding in “effective” ways that work for ourselves and others!