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My son is struggling socially...

My son is going to be 7 years old in September. He's very smart and very mature, he's witty, has a great sense of humor, he's so creative and loves music and seems to be talented with it. However, he struggles a bit socially and i'm starting to worry. He's a lot better than he used to be. He never even used to talk to other kids but if theres other kids around he tends to go off by himself. Or he will play with his "other" friends (imaginary). He also has been doing this thing where he growls at the others kids. I know it sounds funny and my mom and i were even laughing a little bit but its really becoming a concern. I don't know how to address this without embarrassing him. How do you say, don't growl at the kids because they are going to think you are weird? I just called the hospital's child develoopment section adn they are sending me info about a social skills class. i'm also going to get him back in to karate. What else can I do? Are there any suggestions or similar experiences? I even have thought if he was mildly autistic or something. I just don't want him to struggle, exspecially in school! He's getting older and I want him to fit in. He's much better with adults but even then if there gets to be too many people he gets overwhelmed and doesn't know how to act, so he acts out. Sorry this was so long but any advice/support/encouragement would be great.
Thanks.

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mlmsm928

Asked by mlmsm928 at 11:25 AM on Aug. 7, 2013 in Kids' Health

Level 17 (4,297 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • I would talk to his school about getting an evaluation, he does sound like he might have aspergers? But regardless of a diagnosis, social skills classes are great. Many of our speech therapy places also have these classes. Talk to his teacher at school at the beginning of the year and tell her/him what you've noticed, she/he might be able to pair your son up with another boy or two to facilitate some friendships. Also, talk to the guidance counselor at the school. Many schools will pull out 3-4 kids that are having social trouble and work with them in small groups to facilitate social skills and friendship between the kids in a somewhat less overwhelming environment (as opposed to being a classroom with 25+ kids).
    There are also some books (my oldest has autism but he's not as high functioning) that talk about social situations and how to handle them. About being a good friend, etc.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 11:40 AM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • Some of us get to be a great old age and still not do well with larger numbers of people. However you made the mistake of laughing when he growls. (understandable) but that gave him encouragement to do it again. Please do not misunderstand, we all do this at one point or another and encourage, unconsciously, some bad behavior. Now however is the tough time when you have to tell him to knock it of and if necessary embarrass him. This is better in the long run. I hope the social skills class helps.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:42 AM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • Thank you missanc. Are there any specific books that you can recommend. If not I will just research into it.
    mlmsm928

    Comment by mlmsm928 (original poster) at 11:43 AM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • Dardenella-No we didn't laugh in front of him, that i agree would have been bad. We did it behind his back haha.
    mlmsm928

    Comment by mlmsm928 (original poster) at 11:49 AM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • I just turned 37 and I am not too great around people. Which is kind of odd because I grew up in a large family. I have always been shy and don't really like to be around a ton of people. It takes a good while for me to get to know someone and then once I do I can let loose. Maybe he will start to be more outgoing as he gets older. My 13 yo son is kind of the same way. He would rather be alone than a group of people, family included. He is an only child and tends to stick to himself.
    goofygalno1

    Answer by goofygalno1 at 12:00 PM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • I get what you guys are saying about just not wanting to be around people and thats fine, but he can't be growling at them or talking to himself with imaginary friends or he's going to struggle iwth other kids and he has got a lot of years left in school... and i want him to be able to be able to stick up for himself if he has too. Because if my kid gets bullyed i would lose it, I would become koo koo mother.
    mlmsm928

    Comment by mlmsm928 (original poster) at 12:06 PM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • I had a child that was similar. Sometimes the problem is that we, as parents, think too much about it. It really is pretty normal for some children to prefer to be alone.... just keep an eye on him, try to expose him to various social situations, but don't push him.... let him go at his own pace. Try not to put so much into it...
    m-avi

    Answer by m-avi at 12:51 PM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • There's nothing wrong with saying "don't growl because they'll think you're weird" or some variation on that. You're not calling him weird, you're explaining how others will see his behavior. If you think he'll take it the wrong way, then of course you should reword it. But having parents or other adults explain how others perceive our behavior is one way we learn social skills. If no one ever tells us that a behavior is seen as weird by others, we'll keep doing it.

    As far as going off by himself, I'm very, very shy. I'm incredibly uncomfortable around people I don't know, and if it's a whole group of people I don't know, it's even worse. Try scheduling some one on one play dates, let him make friends with individual kids. Then maybe bring those kids he's become friends with together in a bigger play date. Work your way up to playing with kids he doesn't know.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 12:58 PM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • What you describe sound VERY similar to my son. He never growled at other kids, but he's always struggled to interact appropriately with his peers. He also had more appropriate interactions with adults. If there were (are) too many people around he can get overstimulated easier. That was especially true when he was a baby.

    He's always been socially behind his peers by about 2 years. *I* thought it was because of ear infections that we never knew about, making it hard for him to hear and pick up on the social cues. We have video of him reading at 2 and he sounds like a deaf person speaking.

    A year ago I took him to a psychologist. After all summer of testing and filling out questionnaires, he was diagnosed with Asperger's, which is now a defunct diagnosis. It's all Autism Spectrum Disorder now.
    Rosehawk

    Answer by Rosehawk at 1:04 PM on Aug. 7, 2013

  • OP - no, since my son isn't that high functioning I never paid a whole lot of attention when I would hear about them. But I have some friends who have been through that, I will ask and see if I can get done specific names.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 1:31 PM on Aug. 7, 2013

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