Social skills issues

Why Does My Child Stand So Close to People When He Talks?

By Kristy Baxter

Why does my child stand so close to people when he talks?

Kristy Baxter

Former Head of School, the Churchill School

Talking with friends and others involves more than just words. Our facial expressions, posture and hand and eye movements can each communicate important information. The amount of distance we keep between ourselves and others can send important messages too.

Children with learning and attention issues can have a hard time understanding body language. It’s possible your child simply may not notice he’s “invading” people’s personal space. He might not pick up on the nonverbal signals other people are giving him to indicate he’s making them feel uncomfortable. That’s why he may keep moving closer whenever someone tries to back away.

Problems reading body language and social cues can affect your child’s social life and set the stage for rejection. But there are many things you can do at home to help your child get better at picking up on these cues. For example, you can use the length of your arm to show him how far away to stand from conversation partners. Explain to him that when others step away from him, it may be a sign he’s standing too close. Parenting Coach has lots of other strategies that can help with fitting in.

About the Author

Portrait of Kristy Baxter

Kristy Baxter

Kristy Baxter, M.A., is a former head of the Churchill School in New York City and cofounder of Camp Northwood, a sleepaway camp for children with learning disabilities in Remsen, New York.

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