Try This Tuesday #21: Expected Behavior

Try This Tuesday

One of my son’s biggest issues is the difficulty he has with taking another person’s perspective. Now this is perhaps not totally uncommon in six year olds (LOL), but because he has trouble figuring out what other people are thinking and feeling, it is often hard for him to know what behavior is expected of him in various situations.

The psychologist Michael has been seeing talks with him a lot about this idea of expected behaviors, as well as reinforcing the concept that what he says and does affects how other people see him.

I am realizing that up to this point, most of my focus has been on telling Michael what to expect in various situations—what things will look like, who will be there, what the schedule will be. Not as much time has been spent talking about what behavior is expected by me and by the other people who will be there.

She suggested that I get a package of spiral-bound colored index cards and designate each color for a different purpose, such as home, community, etc. Then I could write the expected behaviors for each situation we encounter or place we go on a card. Such a simple idea, but so perfect for us!

I can easily add things on the go without having to print things out or laminate anything, and I can simply tear out a card if I mess it up or need to give it to someone else. It’s also so nice to have for the holidays coming up, where we will be going on longer trips and to different places than usual.

Another positive result from this experiment is that, as we are writing things out, he is noticing how many of the “rules” overlap. For instance, we need to keep our voices down both in the library and at church, and we need to stay with Mommy at the store AND in the parking lot. Even though we are looking at specific situations, he is starting to generalize the concepts a bit more.

Please join in and share the creative solutions YOU have found to your own challenges, or feel free to post your own challenge for input from others. For more details on how to participate, click here.

Trish can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Friday in addition to hosting Try This Tuesday. You can also find Trish at her blog, Another Piece of the Puzzle.

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