Observation Guidelines: Noticing Children's Level of Peer Acceptance (page 3)
- Good social and communication skills
- Sensitivity and responsiveness to others’ wishes and needs
- Willingness to assimilate into ongoing activities
- Signs of leadership potential
On the playground, 8-year-old Daequan moves easily from one group to another. Before joining a conversation, he listens to what others are saying and adds an appropriate comment. He doesn’t draw much attention to himself but is well liked by most of his classmates.
Use popular children as leaders when trying to change other children’s behavior. For example, when starting a recycling program, ask a well-regarded youngster to help get the program off the ground.
- For some, high rates of aggression; for others, immature, anxious, or impulsive behavior
- Disruptive behavior in class
- Unwillingness of other children to play or work with them
- In some cases, appearance to other children of being strange and annoying
Most children dislike 10-year-old Terra. She frequently calls other children insulting nicknames, threatens to beat them up, and noisily intrudes into their private conversations.
Help rejected children learn basic social skills, such as how to initiate a conversation. Place them in cooperative groups with children who are likely to be accepting. With aggressive children, give appropriate consequences and teach self-regulatory strategies for controlling impulses. Publicly compliment all youngsters (including rejected children) on things they do well. When rejected children fail to respond to informal interventions, consult counselors.
- Tendency to be relatively quiet; little or no disruptive behavior
- Fewer-than-average interactions with age-mates but possible friendships with one or two peers
- For some, anxiety about interacting with others
- Possible temporary nature of neglected status
Fourteen-year-old Sedna is initially shy and withdrawn at her new school. Later in the year, however, she seems to be happier and more involved in school activities.
Identify group activities in which neglected children might feel comfortable and be successful. Arrange situations in which shy children with similar interests can get to know one another.
- Acceptance by some peers, rejection by others
- Possible aggression and disruptive behavior in some situations, yet helpfulness, cooperation, and social sensitivity in others
Thirteen-year-old Marcus is usually charming and cheerful, but occasionally he makes jokes at someone else’s expense. His sunny personality impresses many classmates, yet his biting humor offends others.
Let controversial children know in no uncertain terms when their behaviors are inappropriate, but acknowledge their effective social skills as well.
- Tendency to be liked by some peers but disliked by others
- Average interpersonal skills (e.g., average levels of prosocial behavior and aggression)
- Ability to find a comfortable social niche
Five-year-old Joachim doesn’t draw much attention to himself. He’s made a few friends in kindergarten and seems to get along fairly well with them, but he sometimes has trouble handling disagreements.
Help average children refine their emerging social skills. Encourage them to be tactful, honest, and kind with peers and others.
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