It would be unwise for anyone to throw their child into the deep end of a pool and expect them to swim. Most of us are very conscious when it comes to water safety. We spend lots of time in swimming lessons or many hours teaching our children. We need to spend just as much conscious effort preparing them for the social scene. Just as you would not toss your child into a pool it is unwise to toss your child into the “deep end” of social scenarios until they have been allowed the practice.
Like we talked about last week there needs to be small freedoms allowed and when a child has proven trustworthy then a little more freedom is rewarded. An idea for a first baby step is allowing your child to have a sleep over with a trusted friend. Then maybe you all go to the mall and you allow a group of friends the freedom to go by themselves to get ice cream at the food court. If your child has proven trustworthy in these areas, like meeting up with you at the specified time, then you can move on to the next step. These steps may look different for each individual family and each individual child. The important thing to remember is allow your child to practice. Make sure you are clear on your expectations for their behavior and then hold them accountable.