Every environment has a set of unwritten social rules that people expect to be followed such as talking when it is your turn, and respecting personal space. When people follow these social rules then they are considered to be doing what is expected. This leads others to have positive thoughts about that person, which then impacts upon how they view and treat that person. It is generally accepted that the expected behaviours are the ones that help a child to learn and be seen in a positive light by their other people.

Unexpected behaviours are actions which do not follow the social rules. They surprise other people and may make them have uncomfortable thoughts about us. It’s important to note that these are not necessarily bad thoughts, nor thinking WE are weird, but uncomfortable feelings or ideas. It is the unexpected behaviours then that cause a child to be perceived as “odd” by peers and may cause frustration to those trying to support them.

The concept of expected and unexpected behaviours is an important one to help children develop an understanding that their behaviour impacts on those around them, and in turn how others treat them. People generally want to hang out with those they feel comfortable around. This understanding can then help and motivate them to be able to regulate their behaviour because of how it makes others feel.

bestchance runs specialist social skill groups at our Glen Waverley Children’s Centre, for children in preschool and early primary school. Contact 8562 5164 for more information.

social skills

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