Facilitating a social life

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    In an effort to help difficult child 1 work on his social skills, I did what most parents would probably never have to do. I created a Facebook account for him. I am hoping that this gets him to communicate with people more, and develope SOME level of relationship beyond what seems to exist superficially now.

    Even though he's on a sports team with 25 other boys his age, he has yet to reach out to connect with any of them outside the school or sports setting. He spent the first half of this year with headphones in his ears between classes. I pointed out that he was never going to make friends that way -- you have to TALK to people to have a relationship with them, and he can't talk to people if he's not looking at them or listening to them. I think he heard me because he stopped taking his iPod to school after that.

    So far, a bunch of the guys on his team have "friended" him, as have his cousins. Now I just need to remind him to log on to check it periodically.

    His language arts teach recently filled out a teacher survey for his summer camp paperwork, and her comments that he is very shy and would prefer to work alone tells me that although this is his personality, he still needs some help. Lately he's confided to husband that he feels lonely and doesn't feel ike he has any friends. I don't want him to end up like some other family members who truly have no friends and lived their life feeling very lonely and isolated.

    I told both him and difficult child 2 that I want them to phone a friend this week during break and arrange an outing. The park, fishing, a movie, bowling, whatever. Just SOMETHING with SOMEONE.
     
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Is there any chance he's on the autistic spectrum?
     
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It would fit. I can't see why bipolar kids would isolate themselves like this, or necessarily be socially immature merely because of the bipolar. But I can see how autism could be seen as bipolar, especially with the way their moods can change apparently without reason. But there is always a reason. It's just tat with autism, those reasons are not immediately obvious to us.

    As for the computer network as a way to make social contact - difficult child 3 belongs to an online group called Gaia. It's similar only there's a heavier fantasy component, although it is carefully moderated and supervised. The kids do not use their real identities which protects them a lot more. And no photos - instead, you have an avatar which you dress yourself. You pay for the avatar's clothing and props by earning points from logging on and other activities. Lots of games, puzzles etc.

    Marg
     
  4. sunxstone

    sunxstone New Member

    I made a fb account for my difficult child but he wasn't interested in it at all. He plays a few online games like Wizard 101 and Gaia. He likes the competitiveness of video games. Pretty much all his interactions are of a competitive nature. I wish he'd get into facebook and just socialize, talk about his day, his likes and dislikes without the constant "Ha! I killed you! component..
     
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My son has been tested up and down, and he's not on the autistic spectrum. His mood disorder did cause him to isolate socially. Now that he's receiving intensive therapeutic interventions at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and his depression has lifted, he's coming out of his shell and reaching out to peers more easily. So I can see how this scenario would fit with adolescents with mood disorders.

    We've been told that teens with mood disorders do better with group therapy than with individual therapy. That's what we're going to seek out when J comes home from his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) this summer. I'm wondering if your difficult children would do well in a group therapy setting, gcvmom, both for the intrinsic therapeutic value as well as for the social value.
     
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Not to hi-jack the thread, but how on earth do you find a therapeutic group that is appropriate for teen boys with mood disorders outside of a psychiatric hospital? This could do my difficult child a lot of good too if he'd be willing to give it an honest shot.
     
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    In the Difficult Child metro area, there is a group of social workers whose entire practice is made up of therapy groups of adolescents (male, female, coed). Each group has an age range and focus area (for example, depression, aspergers, etc). I found out about it from our psychiatrists.
     
  8. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Klmno...and others as well....my difficult child was in a summer program for a few years through our local services provider. It was basically a day camp for the kids that the center counseled. The last year difficult child did it, they kind of made him an unofficial jr. counselor since he was one of the oldest kids.
     
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I wish I could find something around here like that (either the type smallworld mentione or mstang mentioned)- and that difficult child would try it. I had asked PO- or suggested- that they have structured, (led by someone trained spcifically for this) group meetings for boys transitioning out of Department of Juvenile Justice so they don't suddenly feel thrown back into society. They don't have it, no funding for it, no one who'd be able to lead it in a way to control the boys enough to get more good from it instead of partners in crime. He might end up going to some other type though.
     
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hope the fb helps! I would do it for difficult child but his reading is so far behind he wouldn't be able to read it.
     
  11. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    My difficult child is enrolled in a social skills group that meats once a month. Since difficult child has met some of these folks, he noticed that they don't seem to want to initate other social outings. 2 hrs once a month is not enough. So difficult child is inviting some of the group over for movie night. He sent out flyers, planned a menu(chips, salsa,popcorn, and pizza) figured out the movie. If this works, then he will do it again. One of the other young men has game night once a month at his place. In the meantime, we try to encourage difficult child to make a plan by calling by Wed. for something he wants to do on Friday or Sat. The whole lack of initiative frustrates me but it just doesn't seem to come natural to difficult child.
    Anyhow, I figure if we want difficult child to socialize then we have to provide an environment where he can invite young adults to do things. I am totally uninvolved. I stick around in another room just in case of a meltdown.
    Good luck.
     
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