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Getting on with Others

Being able to successfully interact with others involves both the development and application of specific skills. There is also a strong emotional component related to both self-esteem and attachment.

Getting on with others - the skills
Being able to successfully interact with others requires a number of skills. The youngster needs to:

  • know and understand the rules that govern social interactions
  • have the skills and confidence to instigate interactions with others
  • be able to form friendships
  • be able to deal with the feelings related to the fallings-out that occur - and then have the skills to either 'mend' the friendship or move on
  • cope with feelings of jealousy and being left out

For a youngster who is finding social interactions a challenge, it may well be useful to carry out a skills audit based around their existing competencies in eg turn-taking, managing conflict, following rules, listening to others, expressing their own ideas

Social skills and self-esteem
For those children and young people who struggle in this area, it can have a significant impact upon their self-esteem creating a vicious circle:

'I haven't any friends' >> 'No one likes me' >> Choice:

  • Withdraw - further fuelling the belief 'I'm not liked and therefore I'm no good'
  • OR try to get into a group/friendship - possibly clumsily either because they don't have the skills and/or because there is such a strong emotional drive to wanting to be liked and accepted >>

further rejection by peers >> fuelling the negative self-beliefs even more

Click here for further information on 'Self-esteem'

Social skills and attachment
A youngster's attachment style can have a significant influence upon their ability to create friendships and get on with others - and also to deal with fallings out and other tensions. Identifying which style of attachment he has (withdrawn, fearful, dismissive, enmeshed) can help inform how best to help them develop more positive relationships. 

Click here for further information on 'Attachment and Emotions'

Behaviours Some examples Possible developmental tasks Affirmations Some strategies
'Barging' into groups

Dominating others

Continued disagreements

Bullying and Intimidation

Withdrawn/isolated
To learn to exert power to affect relationships

To discover the effect on others & place in groups

To practice socially appropriate behaviour

To disagree with others and still be wanted

To develop the capacity to cooperate

You can try out different ways of being powerful

You can learn the results of your behaviour

We still want to be with you when we differ and we can learn together

You can learn when and how to disagree

You can learn the rules that help you live with others

You belong here

Structured activities to teach specific skills - with eg one other child in the first instance, gradually increasing the number within the group

Role play - to identify potential difficulties and to rehearse appropriate responses; support putting into practice in 'real life' situations, reviewing what went well and any areas for further development

Teaching of specific social skills - with the opportunity to rehearse, apply, review and apply again

Teach conflict resolution skills

Discussion activities - expressing own views, listening to others, responding to these views appropriately

Fiction and non-fiction accounts of friendships and relationships

Games - turn-taking, winning and losing. Consider starting with just one other pupil and gradually increasing size of group

Group work - including consideration as to the different group mixes the pupil can be a part of

See also SEAL materials

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