Often, the presence of a diagnosis like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can complicate such questions. There may be missing information that needs to be taught before these situations can be addressed successfully. For example, what exactly is a "white lie," and how is it different from an outright lie? Although we teach and promote honesty, when is it okay (or even socially effective) to tell a white lie? What is the difference between "tattling" and enlisting the help of a responsible adult when faced with a situation that affects someone's safety or emotional wellbeing? When should we do what others are telling us to do, and how do we judge their intent or protect our own values when their requests go against what we believe or have been instructed? What tools are available to help us manage our relationships and our emotions?
A social coach can help individuals sort out some of these questions so that they are better equipped to successfully navigate social situations. Social coaching can provide needed instruction, role-playing, a step-by-step plan, and more. A social coach can also assist families who struggle to develop new patterns of interacting with a child who is growing up and needing (but possibly resisting) added responsibilities, opportunities to make their own effective choices, and to experience natural consequences.
Many of us function as social coaches, perhaps without even realizing it. We function as social coaches when we model effective interactions with others (yes, we're often being watched), when we provide information about the choices we're making (and the thought process that led to those choices), and when we take time to provide necessary instruction to others. The process begins in infancy, as parents, grandparents, and childcare providers teach children basic manners along with society's rules, both spoken and unspoken. It continues throughout our lifetime, as even adults find that we sometimes need gentle correction from trusted friends and family members when we commit social errors.
Sometimes we're faced with complicated situations which go beyond our own ability and experience. That's when we need to enlist the help of others who may have information to help us get unstuck, or to lead us toward successful outcomes. You may have individuals in your community who can help in that way. I am also available to talk with you by phone, Skype, email, or in person, as you work to determine the next step in a variety of situations. If you need help answer pressing questions and determining an action plan, or would like someone to hold you accountable for the choices and the progress you make, our social coaching services are available for a nominal cost (as little as $40/hour for 6 sessions). More information about social coaching (including purchasing information) is available here.
Social coaching, whether it's done informally or formally, is an important component of growing personally and interpersonally!