How to Help Maladjusted Children

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Everyday life can be incredibly challenging for a maladjusted child. Children who are maladjusted lack the social skills necessary to interact effectively with peers and engage in healthy, cooperative activities. While maladjustment is not something that can be rectified over night, with help, maladjusted children can operate as effective members of society. By assisting a maladjusted child in navigating the complex web of social relationships, you can help prepare the pupil for future interactions with others.

1 To identify reasons

Attempt to identify reasons for the child's maladjustment and refer to family protective services if necessary. Maladjustment can be spurred by a number of things. If you are an educator or health care worker and you feel that the student's problems stem from an issue within the home, you must report this to social services, as you are a mandated reporter.

2 Speak daily with the child about his day

Speak daily with the child about his day. By engaging in regular communication, the child can begin to learn the principles of socialization. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes daily and devote this time to making small talk with the child.

3 Take the child to places

Take the child to places where he can interact with peers in play. Visit popular parks or other recreation areas in which children commonly play. Encourage the child to engage in play with his peers. If he is hesitant to do so, enter the playing area with him at first, so that he does not feel as if he is all alone. Gradually pull back, allowing him more autonomy.

4 Introduce the child

Introduce the child to kind and helpful same-age peers. Some children are particularly adept at working with peers who struggle. If you know of a conscientious and polite child, ask this child to buddy up with the maladjusted child and engage in conversation or participate in play.

5 Discuss misbehavior with the child

Discuss misbehavior with the child. Some maladjusted children misbehave because they do not understand how to behave properly. It is not effective to merely punish the child for this misbehavior, as she knows neither what she has done wrong nor what she should have done in place of that behavior. In place of punishment, have a conversation with the child. Explain to her why what she did was wrong, so she can better understand why she shouldn't repeat the behavior.

6 Help the child

Help the child create a list of alternatives to misbehavior. If the maladjusted child continually exhibits the same behavior, he may be doing so because he does not know an alternative. If, for example, the child pushes his peers down and takes their toys when he wants to play with them, help discover alternatives to this destructive behavior by listing options. Tell him that he could ask the peers to share, he could wait his turn, and so forth. As the child learns these alternatives, he may be more likely to use them in the future.

7 Refer the child for special education testing

Refer the child for special education testing. In some instances maladjusted children are eligible for special education services. If the child's maladjustment is so severe that it impacts his academic abilities, he may be entitled to services. Follow the procedures at your school to refer the child and ensure that he gets the testing he needs.

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.