Help me find a book to teach my 12yo about making conversation ...(6 Posts)
DH and I are both socially reserved, but over 40+ years have learned to get by socially through the use of small talk, observation of how others behave, and lots of practice. We both wish we know what we know now when we were teenagers.
DS is 12 and a similar personality type - when new people try to make conversation with him, or even when people he knows reasonably well say hello, he can come across as rude and monosyllabic because he hasn't yet learned the art of making conversation for the sake of it.
He's perfectly happy and relaxed around his longer term friends, and does a lot of sport which doesn't need much conversation anyway, so I'm not massively worried, but I would like try and pass on some valuable skills to him a little quicker than DH and I picked them up.
Can anyone recommend a book? - one that I can give to him to read at his own pace? Preferably one that gets straight to the solution without focussing too long on the negative consequences of the problem.
I've trawled Amazon and there are a lot of social communication books for kids with asbergers (which probably cover a lot of the same issues, but which wouldn't be suitable). There are also lots of social networking and small-talk books for adults, but they're very Americanised and focussed on business settings. There are some general "friendship" books aimed at younger children and teenage girls.
I did go to a social networking workshop once, which was brilliant - covering subtle but essential skills - making eye contact, conversation openers, and using people's names, etc. I'd love to find a simple, practical book at that sort of level.
Don't give him a book! Lots of teens are socially awkward and a bit shy, you'll make it worse if you point it out to him. Just gently encourage talking round the dinner table and leave him to find his own way of doing things.
You can't learn to ride a bike from reading a book and you can't learn this either. You've mentioned numerous things that you think are important so you need to lead by example.
Can you book him speech and drama lessons? Even a term's worth might help - you can ask the teacher specifically to cover these areas.
You are in a great position to teach him all the stuff you wished you had known then. Perhaps just sharing this is enough?. Talk about your own experience of social awkwardness as a teenager and what you thought then.. He will see the connection then.
My son does have aspergers but tbh rather than a book, he has found it more useful when we have just talked about how the 'social butterflies' of this world behave or what they would say. We kind of treat them like a species to be examined .He has learnt a lot using this method.
The acting tip is a good one. Once ds realised that he didn't have to actually be socially accomplished but could mimic a few things that neurotypicals always do which make social interactions less awkward, he found it easier.
It also helped when he realised that a significant proportion of people were indeed just as inept and were essentially acting socially competent or had learnt a few set rules along the way
DS has never been great in making conversation (unlike everyone else in his family who are extroverts, which shows!). It seemed to stem mainly from a lack of confidence. He is a confident child as a whole, but only once he has adapted to his environment.
Saying that, I saw a real change in him this year since he turned 13. The other day, the grand mother of one of his friends drop him home after she took her grand son to a tennis lesson, so he was alone with her in the car, having just met her, and he came home quite excited telling me about the conversation they had (about school and sport). She is a retired teacher though, so used to teenage boys, but still I couldn't believe he'd manage to have a 10 minute conversation with a stranger and didn't feel awkward about it.
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