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Doing Life Together

ID-10067330“No, you can’t play with us! ”

When children are left out of activities with their peers, it is painful. No one likes to be the child that isn’t picked in P.E. or the one who didn’t get invited to a birthday party.

Researchers have looked at why some kids are rejected. Here are some of their findings related to boys:

About half of rejected boys tend to be aggressive, argumentative and disruptive. Others (up to 20%) are shy and withdrawn or socially awkward. Their immature, sometimes awkward behavior, can cause rejection, or rejection can bring out their immaturity.

Still others try to be funny but don’t understand the nuances of humor and can come off annoying.  Some kids don’t read the cues of others well enough to know when to stop talking or be less aggressive. Those kids need help recognizing “stop” signals, e.g., the person is looking or walking away.

Other kids are a poor sport, try too hard to impress others by bragging, or isolate too much.

So if your son is struggling with rejection, think about what may be driving the rejection in terms of his behavior. Also, you may want to ask his teacher since he/she observes his peer interactions and could provide feedback.

Once you have a handle on the cause, you can work on teaching more socially appropriate behavior, targeting specific areas. Finally, I have found that when a rejected child has one friend to call his own, it takes the sting out of needing acceptance from the group.

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