Everyone makes social mistakes and experiences social setbacks. The key to recovering from setbacks is having the ability to recuperate from negative interactions and other social problems. Students who succeed more often than they fail socially often use recuperative techniques, such as using specific strategies to repair a relationship, or techniques to recover from social setbacks.
Here are some strategies to help students develop their use of recuperative techniques.
- Structure activities in such a way that a student does not dwell on problems or setbacks. Guide students in developing adaptive coping strategies and recuperative techniques. One such strategy involves inhibiting a first response when faced with a difficult social situation, and instead coming up with alternative ways to deal with the setback. For example, the student who did not make the team may contribute by being the “team publicist,” a student who has hurt another’s feelings may work on ways to repair the relationship, etc.
- Help students develop resiliency to social failures and rejection or resistance by others. Use role-play activities to give students opportunities to explore the positive outcomes and consequences of using recuperative strategies.
- Allow a student to attempt new or challenging strategies privately, before trying them in a group or social situation.
- Be considerate of students’ feelings at all times. Do not embarrass a student or put him/her on the spot in front of others (e.g., by announcing test scores aloud or by making a shy student read aloud in class).
- Let class members know, through subtle means, that students they have rejected possess strengths and affinities, to increase the possibility that others will seek out these individuals.
- Try to educate students in all settings about the need to accept others for their unique qualities.