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Tips for parenting socially awkward children

Posted at 2:57 PM, Dec 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 16:57:39-05

Parenting comes with no instruction book or how-to pamphlet, so there's nothing wrong with not knowing how to handle every situation parenting may throw your way.

Somethings are out of your control and have no quick 'fix', just like if your children are struggling socially.

Therapist Jessie Sheperd has some tips to help parents better parent their socially awkward children and help them out with their struggles.


  • Discuss the awkwardness. Be open, honest and helpful.

Game Plan 

  • Don't over critique in order to maintain the relationship
    • Create 4 positives for every 1 negative to maintain relationships
    • Have them determine their goal
    • Go through the 'protocol' in detail

Set Up 

  • Start small and work your way up
  • Set up positive social interactions on a regular basis with positive kids
  • Get them into activities where there is a common goal (i.e., sports, art classes, yoga, martial arts, service projects, etc.)


  • Build their confidence and reduce anxiety

Bug-Out Plan 

  • Create a 'bug out' plan
  • Always have a plan to get out quickly
    • Both you and them need to have the security of knowing you can leave at any point
  • #1 rule of the bug out plan:
    • If anyone wants to enable the bug out plan, there is no guilt, anger or questioning.
    • The goal changes to leaving in a clam, but quick manner

Recon and Regroup

  • Discuss again:
    • Challenges, what supports would be helpful/were helpful, emotions, body reactions, modifications and why the bug out plan was initiated or not
  • Start the process over again

Keep in Mind

  • Stay calm no matter what happens
  • Don't bring attention to odd behaviors
    • Don't overcorrect them, you don't want toque others in that there is an issue
  • If you're really nervous or anxious, use the bug out plan.
  • Don't worry, everyone goes through phases and there is nothing to 'fix'.
    • The goal is to help them find their niche in life
  • Find your own support that you can vent/talk to.
    • These times can be stressful and tedious, so it's nice to have someone to talk to and keep you focused