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The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends Paperback – September 3, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Elman, director of the Summit Center for Learning in Summit, N.J., and Kennedy-Moore, a Westfield, N.J., psychotherapist, offer a detailed examination of the different ways children interact with their peers. Often, otherwise bright and "normal" children behave in ways that cause other children, family members and teachers to label them as disruptive, unhappy or troublesome. There are nine types of children, according to the authors, including the "short-fused," "little adult," "born leader" and "different drummer." Parents will immediately be able to identify their child from the detailed descriptions included. For example, "Short-Fused Children may appear to be strong, but inside they feel vulnerable. These children are extremely sensitive. They often believe that the whole world is against them. Because they feel threatened, they respond angrily, instinctively fighting to protect themselves." As they explain the various types of behaviors, the authors depict a number of scenarios to show the difficulties children can have relating to others. The challenge for the parents is to help their children learn "the Unwritten Rules" so they have fewer problems and form happier, more productive relationships. The authors provide specific sentences that both parents and children can use to change these destructive behavior patterns, but some parents will probably hope for even more specific do's and don'ts. Given that other childrearing tomes rarely cover this topic, this book is a welcome addition to the parenting library.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Natalie Madorsky Elman, Ph.D., is director of the Summit Center for Learning in New Jersey. She also has been a consultant to the New Jersey Department of Education.Eileen Kennedy-Moore has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She works with adults and children in Westfield, NJ.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (September 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316917303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316917308
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 88 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE on March 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book will help many a shy adult as well as people of all ages with Asperger's Syndrome. This book is an excellent navigational tool in decoding the Tacit Social Codes & Rules. Asperger's Syndrome, which is in the autism spectrum includes a lack of intuitive knowledge of these Social Codes & Rules and their accompanying skills. This book reaches people on the spectrum on the cognitive level and helps many to compensate cognitively for what is lacked intuitively.

I like the way it empowers parents and educators to realize that not everybody can just approach a peer and make an instant friend. Instead of relying on tired cliches such as constant reassurance at best or criticism/blame at worst, this book acts as a "how to" guide in order to improve social skills. No promises are made and encouragement is given instead. Had this book existed when I was a child, much sorrow and shame might have been avoided. Compassion is the tone of the book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

If I could give this book a higher rating, I would cheerfully do so.
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102 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Merrill on August 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a shy child who had troubles making friends, this book would have been enormously helpful. I bought it because I realized my daughter was having the same problems I used to have, and I felt helpless to know what to tell her to help her. I didn't want her to suffer as I had, but I wasn't exactly qualified to tell another person how to make friends! I am so glad I got this book. It is full of practical, detailed advice on what you can do to teach your child social skills. I'm finding it useful too! I would recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone who is in the same situation I was in.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Pen on July 30, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has an eye-catching title, but really the title suggests just a small portion of what this book provides. A real look at how to really raise children with different emotional needs, treating them like individuals and people - and offering concrete and specific suggestions and techniques, not the usual cliche drivel. Every parent or future parent should receive a copy of this book. Not a bad resource for non-parents too.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is an absolute must for parents AND teachers who want to guide children through the mastering of essential social skills for building friendships. The all inclusive presentation of means and methods for knowing and implementing The Unwritten Rules will spare many children from the pain of unknowingly inviting social rejection. It's all within The Unwritten Rules...clearly visible to the mind and heart. The authors admirably and impressively answer many children's calls for help.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By David Humphries on April 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, the book is well organized. It provides practical tips and exercises to teach children appropriate social behaviors. It can serve as a reference for all those good and bad social actions that a parent may not remember to discuss.

It is a book written for "normal" and young children. The exercises seem to be directed to children younger than sixth grade. The book may be of some use to Asperger's children if they are elementary school aged, but beyond that, I doubt it would be of much value. For the record, I have an Asperger's son.

The book is broken into sections based on personality types: The Vulnerable Child, The Different Drummer, The Little Adult, etc. This structure makes it possible to quickly identify where your child fits, primarily, and to focus on those behaviors first. Each section stands on its own, and thoroughly describes how that personality typically acts in social settings. Exercises are provided to assist you in teaching your child the rules for each section (personality). There are nine personality types explained, and if any are missing, I can't think of one.

Parents of Asperger's children should not view this book as a primary resource. It is written for "normal kids who struggle to be accepted by their peers," as it states on page 8. The exercises may be helpful in some cases where the child can learn a cognitive method of behavior; however, there is no effort or attempt at addressing the underlying anxieties and thought processes that dictate the behaviors of an Aspie. Any cognitive efforts would have to be done at an early age. I find it highly unlikely that a middle-school or older Aspie would benefit much from this book.

The disappointing part of the book is its maddeningly naïve approach to bullying.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Well-organized with chapters on different types of children --the shy child, the different drummer, etc. States unwritten rules which elude many children in dealing with peers and others. Lots of examples and practical how-to professional advice. Gives parents tools to help their child overcome problems in making friends.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have watched my child suffer from shyness. This book made me realize that there are some specific skills that she could learn that would help her feel more confident and be more successful in social situations. Instead of saying to her, "Of course they will want to play with you, you're such a great kid," I now give her specific tips, like: "Smile and say hello and say the person's name when you see them" or "If all the kids are playing tag, just join the game, instead of waiting for them to ask you to join." I am so glad that I found this book while she is in early elementary school so we can work on the skills together and avoid some unhappiness down the road. This book offers very practical advice that will help parents guide their children to learn "friendship skills". What greater gift can we give our children? I found Unwritten Rules to be very compassionate towards all kinds of children. I gave a copy of it to my friend who was at her wit's end with her child who has been taking on the role of bully of the playground. She found it helpful too!
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The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends
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