14th Mar 2012 | 03:13 am | Filed under Parenting, Reflections, Social Skills, Techniques

Message from Karen

Well, it has been a number of months since I have been in contact with you all. We have been making some major changes that will allow us to serve more children and their families. This means that we are in the process of moving out of my upstairs and into a new space in the community building of Christ Community Church. We are very fortunate that the Church is allowing us to use their facilities. Our programs have not changed a lot in terms of what and how we are teaching, but we are hopeful that this location will be more central to more families. We are now located in North East Beaverton just off the 217 freeway. 4325 SW107th Avenue, Beaverton, OR 97005

Starting April 5th, we are holding our after school program, Whiz Kids Club, again on Thursdays. We will be running three groups: one for younger boys, one for older boys, and a girls group. All the details are on the website at:


Resource Fair Coming up!

We will be heading over to the Swindell’s Complementary Therapies and Recreation resource fair on March 23rd from 11 am to 4 pm. At 830 NE 47th Ave., Portland, OR. 503-215-2429 Karen will be giving a 20 minute talk about social skills and our day camp program, and we will be manning a booth as well, so come support us and bring the kids as there will be fun things for them to do as well!

What social skills are NOT

I spend a lot of time thinking about, teaching about, writing about social skills. It is very clear to me what it means, but I’m not sure that the big picture concept is completely understood. This article will hopefully clarify what I mean when I talk about social skills.

Social skills is not about manners, which fork to use on the salad, or whether to write a thank you note after a play date although that type of knowledge is a tiny piece. The larger part is about reading non-verbal communication, being able to understand another person’s point of view, and participating in the give and take of a good conversation. Manners are important, but they are not the whole picture.

Social skills is not only about making friends. I have parents all the time tell me that their child has no trouble at all making friends, but when I see their child with friends, I find that they are bossy, they have trouble sharing, they play next to others not with them, and some don’t actually know their friends names or interests. They may not be able to carry on the give and take of a conversation, but will “talk their friends ear off.” This means that while they may claim “friends” in the end they may not really even know what that means or worst they start off a friendship then end up fighting with the friend so much that they lose the friendship which is very painful.

Social skills are not about “being respectful” although this is a concept that must often be taught to our children specifically. Many times our kids do not seem to be able to understand that how they treat an adult is different than how they would treat a child their own age or even a younger child. They appear to believe that all people are equal and to be treated the same which does not work well at all. Teachers, Principals, and even parents often have a very different idea about how children should treat them and see any deviation from that norm as “Disrespectful.” The bottom line is that how one treats one type of person is different than how one treats another and by breaking that hidden social rule, your child will get into trouble.

I hope that this clarifies a bit what it is I’m talking about when I say Social Skills. There is a lot more, and I will be continuing to clarify and give examples and ideas as time goes by.

Of course, I believe that our programs are the amazing for children to begin to learn these skills while having fun, so that they can be more successful in school, at home, and in life! Visit http://www.socialwhizkids.com to see if our programs would be a good fit for your family.

Self Care: Taking time to read for fun

In my never ending quest to nag, cajole, and convince you to take care of yourself so that you can take better care of your child, I have gotten bored with the usual suspects – good sleep, healthy food and exercise. Todays topic was suggested to me by a recently divorced mom of two who called reading “fun books” comfort food for the soul. I couldn’t agree more.

Of course, much like comfort food, one person’s fun is going to be different than another person. I remember during my divorce time, I would need to just escape into silliness for a while to take a break from all the seriously scary stuff that was going on in my life, so I read Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” books – all of them in one giant tome. I laughed and laughed until the tears ran down my cheeks.

I also enjoy reading young adult fiction for fun like the Harry Potter Books, Percy Jackson books, or books by John Green. The added bonus is that I can talk to my kids about them and use them as examples for topics I’m trying to explain to them. Also, they just make me laugh. The latest Percy Jackson goes to Amazon.com which is being run by actual amazons with armored and sharpened forklifts! I cracked up at that one!

I also enjoy a nice pulpy mystery novel like by J.D. Robb’s (Nora Roberts) In Death series or James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club books or Alexander McCalls #1 Ladies Detective Agency stories. Fun with a bit of mystery, sexy characters, and adventure thrown in just takes me out of my everyday existence.

So what is fun for you to read? Let us know in the comments on the Blog.

1 Comment »

to “What Social Skills are NOT”

Karen DeBolt

Regarding fun books, I would also like to know what inspirational books you read? I always love The Four Agreements and always find something deeper in it every time I re-read it.

Go on and tell us what you like to read – fun or inspirational.