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Is Your Child Well Liked?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I need this answer from the "mainstream". My son is an Aspergers child, where a major trademark is social issues. They have a hard time reading and understanding social cues and picking up on things that come naturally to other children, i.e., conversational turn taking, etc. Yet, he is very sensitive and his feelings are easily hurt. He becomes obsessed when things go wrong.

Last night we were chatting and he broke my heart. He was telling me more about some of the mean and exclusionary things kids in school say and do. He wanted to know why they are mean to him. There are about 4-5 kids in his class that are always nice. He looks at them as friends, which they are, but w/Aspergers children, they think if you are not mean, you are their friend. Then if you do something not considered nice, they take it personally, even if it's not playing a game they've suggested. This sets these kids up for victimization and hurt feelings.

Anyway, he asked why the kids are mean, why some of them tell him he won't be invited to their party, or to their playtime. Then he asked me how he can make them like him. We can give the pat answers like, "Not everyone will like you. Just be you." Etc., but to a six year old living in the now, that's not enough. He is so eager to be liked.

So my question: If your child is well-liked, why? What traits do they have? I've always stressed being nice, and my child is known for his kindness to others. He sees that the mean kids are the popular ones. I explained about leaders and followers. He dresses like the others, looks normal, so that's not an issue. I'm at a loss. These kids are in first grade -their minds are made up, and sometimes he's in, sometimes he's out. The bullies and opinionated ones are the leaders many times, and their followers don't always stand up to them - they play along. Tell me what makes your kid popular.
post #2 of 24
My kids ARE well liked..but I have been through one thinking she wasn't. We actually spent almost 2 years in a counselor's office, and this was one issue. She didn't see that when others flocked around her, asked her advice, etc. that it was because they liked her. What she saw was that she had no "best" group of friends, so she felt like she was floudering. She wasn't athletic, wasn't a cheerleader, wasn't great in school, wasn't a "nerd", wasn't part of any set group. What she didn't realize is that MOST kids are in that group. It took us a long time to get that through to her.
I AM very blessed, though, in that my kids are also very very compassionate. We call children who are like your son, "special", and we have always taught them to go out of the way for those kids. However, even being taught, I think that is a natural instinct they were born with...and I think if they hadn't had that, it would almost come across as fake. Do you know what I mean? Katie, my 17 year old, is in 2 classed with a boy who is autistic. She volunteered in both classes to be his helper. She comes home almost daily talking about this or that sweet thing he did. She doesn't laugh at him, but she ENJOYS him. Riley, my 6 year old, has a friend who, while his parents refuse a diagnosis, is beyond a shadow of a doubt Asperger's. Riley knows he is different. He has asked me a few times why this child does this or that, is louder than the others, etc, but not one time has he ever not included him in play or inviting him to events.
I wish I knew what you could tell your son, but sadly enough, what he is experiencing now, is what he is facing for life. There are so many people in this world who think you have to fit a mold to be "right". It takes all of us, with every difference that God gave us, to make this world go round. If everyone would just understand that, what a change we could make!
post #3 of 24
My kids are both well liked but I don't know that I would call them popular. I hear the same thing every year from teachers at conference since they were in kindergarten, about the both of them, how they get along with everyone in the class, they're respectful and helpful, not behavior or discipline problems etc

Both of my kids are very sensitive to others. My younger son gets very upset when he sees kids being mean to someone. Last year he got really worked up about how they picked teams for kickball on the playground. When he was captain, he created the team of 'misfits'. All the kids he chose first were kids that either were never chosen, or chosen last. He is such a sweet, sweet kid. He'll look around at recess and see the person standing by themselves and go up to them and engage them in conversation or ask them to play with him. I'm so proud of him.

My older son is in 6th grade and there are definately the popular kids (he's not really one of them but he gets along with them). Unfortunately some of the popular kids can be quite cruel to other kids. I see this more with the girls than with the boys. I don't know if it's a 'girl thing' or what but it's really unfortunate. Things have been said to my son, that aren't nice. We talk about it and talk about how he can deflect those comments but it still hurts. I think it's something every parent has to deal with. It's hard to know how to help your child cope sometimes.
post #4 of 24
My oldest is somewhere in the middle- she has friends- but she is not what I would think as "popular". At least she does not think that she is popular. She tells me that she sits with some of the popular kids at lunch and will play with a few of them at recess-but not all of them are her friends. BTW- she is 10.

IMHO, in our school district- for the most part the popular ones are the mean ones (especially the rich spoiled bratty ones), but there is the few exceptions of truly nice kids that are popular. I honestly think that they are popular for the most part because all children want to be liked and if you can get the mean one to like you- you feel a lot better about yourself. You would not think that popularity would matter at this age- but it honestly starts when there is a group of kids together. Sorry- I had to edit to add- that I noticed the girls are a lot meaner than the boys at this age- they will be your best friend one day and then treat you like you have the plague the other.

There is nice kids out there though- some children feel bad for some people- but when they are younger they have trouble understanding how to help someone.

It breaks my heart to hear that about your son- I honestly don't know what to tell you.
post #5 of 24
You just described my oldest from your description of his actions and feelings right to him being in the first grade. It's very sad when their feelings get hurt. We just try to instill in him a sense of pride and let him know that not all people are nice and to stay away from the ones that aren't. A big thing we are working on right now is communication. My son will talk to much, obsess about the same thing for too long, and not take turns talking. This irritates people (my goodness it irritates me!). But it's important that we work on it so that others will want to listen to him. baby steps.....

My youngest son has no issues at all. He is a go with the flow kid and everyone likes him. He can play with either girls or boys and has a good sense of himself and he won't take any kind of cr@p from anyone.

Just thinking back to my school days, it was the kids that had a good sense of self worth that were the popular kids (although they weren't always the nice ones). I think it's really important to help them find something they are good at, something that they can do better than anyone else to give them a sense of pride.

Big hugs...I know it hurts.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
That's what I was explaining to him: The "popular" ones are often the bullies because the others don't want to be criticized, so they just follow along and copy the bully. I also told him that the most popular ones, especially as he gets older, are the ones who are truly nice to everyone, but it doesn't really show up until almost the senior year of high school when kids are starting to mature. That's what he sees: you have to be mean to be well-liked, and that is not how it really is.
post #7 of 24
It's also important for them to know that it's okay to have one really good friend vs lots of not so nice ones. I keep telling my son how lucky he is to have his little brother, I didn't have any siblings to play or confide in.
post #8 of 24
Well, my oldest is 6 1/2 and has always been very popular. I normally would have been uncomfortable answering this question, but I feel the need to defend the "popular kids" that are NOT bullies! My son is not in any way, shape, or form a bully. He is kind to the core. He is extremely outgoing and cheerful and his enthusiasm about everything he comes accross makes people gravitate towards him. His teachers love him because he loves to learn and he is eager to try any new challenge in school. His friends love him because he is goofy and silly but also quite confident. The girls love him because HE loves THEM and because he is absolutely adorable to look at. He has big blue eyes and blond hair and is tall and thin. The world is his oyster and he is a natural born leader. He likes to try new things - he is always ready to try a new sport or play a new game. He likes to travel and he likes to meet new people. He was just born this way and he is SO much like his father which is why I married him!

We have playdates all the time and he regularly plays with over half the kids in his class this year - girls and boys. We always have the kids over here too and I try very hard to be friendly with the parents (even if I don't like them much) so the kids see us getting along. IHis father and I are extremely social and outgoing people, so he sees the way we live our lives and he lives his the same way. I know he is young, but we have yet to see the whole "popular kids are the mean ones" phenomenon.
post #9 of 24
I don't know how to use the edit button, but I wanted to add something after I read over my post. I wrote the part about the playdates, etc. but didn't really make the point I was going for. What I was trying to say was that I think that we as parents really have to put ourselves out there and show our kids first hand how to maintain friendships. We can't just assume that they are going to learn all their social skills at school. We need to have these children in our homes, spend time with them, get to know them. We need to listen to what they are saying and watch how they are treating each other. We need to teach them how to be good friends by showing them. All the kind mommy words in the world are not enough. Children learn by example. JMO.
post #10 of 24
My ds is 5 and is Autistic as well and I think he is well liked, but the students don't understand his quirks. They know he is a bit different, but his teacher really does a wonderful job with Aaron and making him ease into transitions and such. My ds has really made wonderful progress and is mainstream now.
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