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Month: December 2021

Expected vs. Unexpected Behaviors

Friendship.  Connectedness. Two things that we all need to some degree.  When kids come to talk to me about feeling alone, or not having any friends, I will often teach them about Expected and Unexpected behaviors.  When we behave in expected ways, other people feel comfortable and safe around us, and usually don’t mind being close to us.  When we behave in unexpected ways, people feel uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe around us, and it’s hard to make friends and be connected when other people don’t feel comfortable around us. I like the analogy of funerals and weddings.  If I’m at a funeral and someone comes in the door laughing and joking around, that is unexpected behavior.  What is expected at a funeral is a serious, sad or sombre attitude.  It is likely disrespectful to come into a funeral making jokes and laughing.  That behavior is more expected at a wedding. If a person comes to a wedding sad and sombre, that would be unexpected.  It is expected behavior to be joyful, smiling and cheerful at a wedding.  It’s not that the behavior is necessarily the problem, it’s the time and place: is the behaviour expected or unexpected.

  • EXPECTED BEHAVIORS: Things kids do or say that other kids think are friendly, helpful and respectful to others. 
  • UNEXPECTED BEHAVIORS: Things kids do or say that other kids think are not friendly, hurtful, unusual and disrespectful to others. 

Sometimes kids will need a bit of training and practice to understand if their behaviors are expected or unexpected.  They might need to be taught to recognize social cues that the other students are giving them that let them know that their behavior is making others feel uncomfortable, or even perhaps unsafe.  If you think your child could use a bit of help in this area, click on the link below!  I think the author does a nice job of explaining this in more detail. As always, feel free to send me an email if you’d like to talk, or if you would like me to connect with your child about this or any other concerns you might have! 

Teaching Expected and Unexpected Behaviors



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