I’m sharing a real-time coaching scenario that happened with my middle school group. I think it demonstrates how, if we are in tune and intervene, how we can turn a situation around for kids who struggle socially.
Three of the girls were over on the swings and seemed to be having a great time chatting. I walked over to check-in. It went like this (names are changed):
ME: Hey there, how is it going? It looks like you’re having fun.
SALLY: It’s good, but we have been asking Susie to give us some space.
ME: Hmmm. That sounds a little like excluding Susie, especially since there are only three girls here.
ME: Sally, I know that you’ve had trouble with kids at school excluding you, so I’m surprised that you would want to do the same thing to Susie.
JESSIE: Well, Susie’s doing things that are annoying.
ME: Susie, would it be helpful to hear what it is that is bothering the other girls?
JESSIE: She’s talking really loud and yelling in my ear.
SALLY: And she’s making random and weird loud noises.
ME: Oh, I see. Okay, Susie, you’ve gotten some important feedback from the other two girls, so now, you have a choice to make. You can either keep doing these things and the girls will not want you to hang out with them, or, you can change what you’re doing and enjoy a nice and friendly experience with them. What do you want to do?
SUSIE: I’ll change it.
And she did. She stopped making noises and spoke at a normal volume. Jessie even complimented her. It’s important to know that I never want to change the uniqueness of a child. But when there are things that are clearly hampering their social interactions, I want them to understand that they have a choice to change any actions that are in their control.