Friday, April 10, 2009

Socialization difficulties

A question from a parent about socialization...

Socialization is one of the hardest things for parents to help with, just because of the nature of the relationship. As parents, we do not want to see our children upset so to ostracize them for inappropriate behavior is difficult for us, even though in a social setting that is what naturally occurs when inappropriate behavior occurs. Also, parents have a relationship with children that is very different from that of peers.

He will naturally pick up social cues from other classmates and with the teachers guiding him. You can help with this. Instead of time-outs, which we do not use in Montessori because it fails to teach any lessons but is a punishment, try asking of him that he treat you and everyone else he comes in contact with the respect that they deserve. When he does not, use an approach that would be more of a natural consequence of that action. For instance, if he spits on you, you refuse to speak to him until he can show better manners. Do not ignore the action, address it and the fact that it is extremely rude and if he is going to do things like that then others will not want to be around him. When he has calmed down you can ask him why he has spat, and help him think of alternatives to the behavior. Did he spit to get your attention? Then suggest he calmly place his hand of your leg to get your attention. If he is spitting just because he thinks it is cool, he can always do appropriate spitting (in the bathroom sink). He may come out of the bathroom when he is done spitting.

He seems to not understand how to enter situations where he wants to interact or wants attention. Instead he is disturbing work or doing inappropriate things to catch attention. This is not a skill children instinctively have, it is a learned skill. Up to this point, these things have gotten the desired attention so he is continuing to do them. He must be taught how to enter these situations. For instance, at home if he wants yours or your husband's attention, he must gain it properly. When he does, may sure you let him know how much you appreciate that. Always model proper behavior for him as well. If you want his attention (or your husband's and vice versa) make sure it is gained in a way that would be appropriate if he was doing the same things.


  1. what are your thoughts on how to deal with toddler temper tantrums?

  2. Sorry it took so long, I just found the comment! I blogged on this for you because I knew it would be a long post and I get this question all the time. Hope it helps if you are still in the midst of tantrums!