My 7 year old boy is having trouble in the neighborhood socially. He will go to play with kids (ages 8-12) and within 30 minutes, he's having problems. He can be annoying - not taking clues on when to leave someone alone. They will start picking on him. I end up calling him in with an excuse. He doesn't seem to notice any problem. It usually occurs when there are at least 4 or more kids playing. At school, he is doing very well academically and only has a minor problem socially once in a great while. Is this just normal developmental behavior or not? What can I do about this?
Also, I am pretty hard on him, telling him that the kids won't like him if he is bothersome. Should I even address the issue to him?
Depending on the composition of the neighborhood group, he may be in over his head. That is, if most of the children are 9-12 years old, they really are too old for him and he will continue to experience difficulties. The primary reason he has fewer social problems at school is that his classmates are his age. There is a great deal of difference developmentally between children who are seven and children who are nine, ten, eleven, etc. If possible, gear him to other seven-eight year olds primarily, and I believe you will see a difference for the better.
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