The Science of Making Friends gives parents and their teens/young adults the step-by-step tools to use to make friendships, with a compatible DVD and an app (avail for purchase - friendmaker 1.99). This book explains in detail UCLA's PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills). The book gives parents the role of "Social Coach" and teaches you how to guide your teen/young adult into successful friendships.
First off, Elizabeth A. Laugeson, PSY.D., understands that your son/daughter may not be motivated to make friendships. For this, perhaps reading the book, watching the DVD, and knowing the tools, you can at least be equipped to help your child with friendships if they so desire.
What the book teaches: How to find and choose good friends (Where to find them, how to match your child with like minded people, what groups to join, etc).
It then goes into basic conversation skills, starting and entering conversations and exiting conversations. There are written instructions, visual examples on the DVDs, and then questions to talk about what was seen on the DVDs. The parents are given instructions on how to be a social coach and the teens/young adults are given specific highlighted portion to read. Topics covered are trading information, eye contact, physical boundaries, voice levels, conversation hogs, asking too many questions, policing, teasing and getting too personal. Sometimes both good and bad examples are given. For someone who may be confused about friendships, these social rules will be extremely helpful.
Since many with social challenges prefer to be on computers, it goes into great detail in regards to managing electronic communication. How people lie about who they really are on the internet, and why we want to have out teens/young adults get off the computer and have real interactive relationships. It covers texting and social media as well.
Showing good sportsmanship is covered and then it goes into detail on how to plan a get-together (the steps for before it happens, how to make it happen, and what to do during and how to close it).
The third and final section of the book covers "The Science of Handling Peer Conflict and Rejection: Helpful Strategies." While some parents may want to skip ahead to this part as it's our daily lives with kids with social challenges, but I recommend reading the entire book first and using the foundations built in the first two sections before advancing into this important section. Subjects explored are dealing with arguments, handling verbal teasing (GREAT ADVICE HERE), addressing cyber bullying (big issue), avoiding physical bullying (my least favorite section, but they handled it as well as possible). And two other sections are Minimizing Rumors and Gossip (very helpful and I learned a lot in this section) and Changing a Bad Reputation. Reputation? My kid doesn't have a reputation is what I thought. But after reading the book, I get that all kids have reputations and maybe your teen/young adult's is bad. Bad because they're weird, or a dork, or get in peoples' space, or interview people with inappropriate questions, etc. This book explains how to change and fix that. Very nice!
The tone of this book is pretty serious and straight forward. I would start using these tools as early as possible from a parent perspective, as I will with my 11 year old, but it will be most useful for teens/young adults. My son prefers silly and he really likes the book, "Social Rules for Kids, The top 100 Social Rules that Kids Need to Succeed" by Susan Diamond, which I believe compliments this PEERS package quite well and could be used as a follow up or refresher.
Elizabeth A. Laugeson, PSY.D is passionate about The Science of Making Friends and it shows in her work. It's an excellent evidence-based program (and the only one of its kind). As a parent of a socially challenged pre-teen, I greatly appreciate this program and plan on using it. I will recommend to all the mom's in my parent groups as well as all the parents I know with children on the autism spectrum and/or developmental delays.
- Provides step-by-step instructions on how to find and make friends. Also, what to do if people aren't interested in being friends, if arguments happen, if bullying is happening, and so much more. So often parents are left not knowing what to do - this book tells you what to do and maps it out for you.
- Book is very thorough. It goes into extreme detail, which at times can feel a bit much, but if you're like my son you really need it broken down to the simplest of simple steps.
- A lot of ground is covered, such as online "friendships", what to avoid, online bullying, and cyber laws.
- DVD, visual learning skills are wonderful. I like the young adults that are on camera. The short vignettes get the point across quickly and effectively.
- DVD, Elizabeth A. Laugeson, PSY.D., speaks clearly and is easy to understand. She speaks for a few moments, then the kids do their acting example of the situation, and then the same three questions come up to learn from the video.
- Success stories planted throughout. Where they started, how they did it and how they are doing now.
- I wish the text that was written for the teens/young adults would have been a separate book or perhaps a workbook specifically for the teen/young adult.
- The beginning of the book and the DVD sell you on the program and why it's better than any other program. I didn't feel this was necessary and kind of a turn off.
- The DVD says, "Keep your cool," a lot, which my son would literally think to stay cold. Perhaps stay calm would have been a better choice; however, it's all explained in the book so I don't think anyone will be confused.
***Note: I watched the DVD on my DVD player even though it says in the book to watch on computer. It worked fine for me with chapter selections to work on specific segment when desired.