Sunday, April 16, 2017

Impulse Control and Social Skills

Impulse Control and Social Skills

Now that we have discussed what impulse control is and how a child may struggle with their own impulsivity, it is important to draw a connection to the different aspects that can be affected by having good vs. poor impulse control.

One of the major areas that can be affected by impulse control is socialization. Social skills are very important skills for a child to practice on a daily basis. They influence a child’s ability to develop interpersonal relationships with others, follow “hidden rules” of life, feel a sense of belonging and commonality amongst their peers, and not put them in a position to be victimized for inappropriate or “unexpected” behaviors. Children that struggle with impulsivity also tend to struggle with social skills and making friends. Therefore it is essential that we teach our children about impulse control and how it relates to socializing in an expected way.  How can we do that?

As previously mentioned, the concept of “stopping and thinking” before acting is how impulse control is taught and established. 

Taking it a step further to tie into social skills, we can teach our children to also think about how their behavior affects their interactions with others. Maybe a child who struggles with impulse control experiences other children not wanting to sit by them. Or “shh-ing” them in class. Or not picking them to be on their team because they struggle to follow the rules or keeping personal space. 

Impulsive children frequently have problems making and keeping friends. All of these examples make it essential for us to give children the tools to develop these social skills while also controlling their impulsivity. This can help in their peer relationships by being more sensitive to others, by resisting peer pressure, and by being less intrusive. 

It is also helpful to assist your child in understanding why social skills (acting in an expected way around their peers) is even important in the first place! We try to explain to a child that having friends is a great part of life. But to have a friend, you must be a friend. That means you must act in ways that make the other person feel special.

Our hope is that as a child feels more in control of their actions and impulsivity, they will begin to see the positive results, not just in the classroom but also on the playground.

Post by Shawna Paplaski, LCPC