Benefits of Role-Playing

Role-playing with your child is an excellent way to help him rehearse and practice appropriate social behavior and talk so he feels more confident and relaxed in social settings.

Many children with ADHD become nervous and flabbergasted when they go to parties or other social settings and often embarrass themselves by exhibiting ADHD behavior like butting in, dominating the conversation, yammering on and on when no one is interested, saying rude or overly blunt things to others, or saying inappropriate or “clueless” things in conversations.

Question

Why is role-playing so important for ADHD kids?

Role-playing gives your child a safe place to practice appropriate social behavior until he gets it right so he doesn't blurt things that cause him to be ostracized, shunned, or ignored by classmates. Role-play with your child before he goes to a party to rehearse small talk and clever responses.

The Art of Small Talk

Role-play with your teen so he feels comfortable with the art of small talk. Tell him he just wants to skim off the basics, and remind him that when it comes to small talk, it's better to know a little about a lot of different things than a lot about just one thing.

Another easy way your teen with ADHD can facilitate small talk is to read up on sports and local and international news before going to a party so he has lots of easy conversation starters at his disposal.

Rehearse Bowing Out Before Blowing Out

If your child finds himself in a small group discussion he can't follow or can't keep up with, tell him not to get so impatient with himself that he goes overboard trying to think up an appropriate response that may not hit the mark. If your child is truly confused and/or bewildered by the train of conversation, or if the topic of conversation is simply over his head, practice helping him find a good excuse to bow out politely before he reaches the point of no return — when his hyperactivity or impulsivity may cause him to butt in or blurt out something that may be inappropriate or irrelevant. “Where's the restroom?” or “I'd better rejoin my friend,” or “I think I need a glass of water” are always handy excuses for making a graceful exit.

Limiting Personal Disclosure

Many children with ADHD let hyperactivity and impulsivity get the best of their tongue and divulge too much personal information about themselves or they break confidences. Make sure your child understands that divulging too much personal information about herself or gossiping about others makes strangers feel uncomfortable and pressured to reciprocate with personal details about themselves or others.

Fact

By sharing too much overly positive information about herself, your child with ADHD could come across as bragging or boasting, and leave some people wondering if she's really telling the truth, or simply exaggerating or lying to try to impress or intimidate them.

Tell your child that sharing too much about himself with casual acquaintances could have the opposite effect of what he was hoping to achieve. Instead of making people feel closer to him, it could send them running in the opposite direction and leave him feeling alone and isolated.

Wiggling Out of Difficult Situations

Teenagers benefit from being given the words they can use in difficult social situations. Before your teen leaves for a party, tell him how to respond to antisocial pressures: “If someone asks if you want a cigarette, you can say, ‘No, I don't smoke.’ If you need an excuse, you can say, ‘I can't, I'm trying out for track,’ or ‘My parents have noses like beagles and will ground me for life if I come home smelling of smoke.’” Do not bombard your teen with a dozen lectures before he gets together with friends. Tackling one issue per outing is plenty.

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