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My seven year old opperates well amongst groups of all ages as she has had a lot of exposure to a variety of age groups. However, all this exposure sometimes means she is a little too bold.

For example, she spends a good amount of time amongst teens and twenty-somethings because of her involvement in theater. However, when she pipes up, "Jon, Sarah would be a great girlfriend for you - you should ask her out." it is a little over-the top (Nevermind if John was already dating Jack).

Or, she has also inserted herself into an adult conversation in which she said, "Really Bert, reading is so much fun. I just don't know how you live without it" when Bert was talking about why he never learned, "I'd be happy to teach you." So sweet in terms of intentions but really not what Bert wants to hear.

All of the people she interacts with are pretty cool and "get it" for the most part, but her social circles are expanding and what was cute at 4, and 5 is less so at 7. When I over-hear these things, I have a convo with her about why it may not have been received the way she meant it to be by the other party when we are away from the "crowd" so to speak, but how do I move her into that next level where she can start discerning some of these subtleties for herself a little better?

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For what it's worth, I was an only child and had a very similar experience (there were zero other kids my age in my family--my cousins were all several years older). My son, even though he's not an only, is a first and I can see a similar tendency in him. I did eventually figure it out and a lot of that "figuring out" came about because I started school and hanging around more and more kids in my own age group. But I remember my mom and I have "those" conversations, too. –  Meg Coates Dec 9 '13 at 18:41
    
if this is the same child as the running around question, I would have her evaluated for Aspergers, even though they took it out of the DSM-IV I still use the term. Both myself and my oldest son have been diagnosed with being on this spectrum. I am in Mensa, and he is 8 and in the 99% on every test he takes. He "talks out of turn" because he just doesn't get the social cues of when it is and is not appropriate to contribute and what to contribute to a conversation. We talk to all three of our boys as adults, no baby talk, so they all have vocabularies well beyond their ages. –  Jarrod Roberson Jan 15 at 6:35
    
@JarrodRoberson, it is the same child and I have to laugh because I see where you are coming from, but her ability to understand social cues is on parr for her age - I taught at a school for kids with various reasons for exceptionality and have worked quite a bit with kids with Asperger's and severe ADHD. psych.org/practice/dsm for those wondering about the DSM-IV. –  balanced mama Jan 15 at 13:05
    
thats great! then you know what to look for and how to deal with the outliers in the population! I actually meant DSM-V just as a correction to my own comment. –  Jarrod Roberson Jan 15 at 14:28
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1 Answer

I would tell her that just because we’re interested in someone and mean them well, we don’t have a right to invade their privacy, or involve ourselves in their sensitive affairs.

The three exceptions I can think of would be

  • if the other person is a close friend. (Your daughter can’t be that close to Jon or she would know about Jack.)
  • if doing so would prevent a serious or immediate harm, one the other person cannot know about. (E.g., she could warn an acquaintance if she saw her about to get into a car driven by her new boyfriend who unbeknownst to her had just downed three shots of whiskey, but not if she sees the same acquaintance smoking a cigarette.)
  • if they’ve already invited us in by offering confidences or asking our advice. (If Bert had said something to her -- or confided to a group of which she was a part -- about how he wished he had learned to read, I think her offer – though perhaps not the remark that preceded it – would have been perfectly acceptable.)

You also need to let her know which sorts of topics are likely to be private or sensitive. (You’ve probably been so straightforward with her in discussing these topics that she doesn’t understand stigma, or embarrassment, or other... ramifications.)

If she does find herself in one of the above situations where it would be okay to make a suggestion -– and I bet there will be times when she does have a good idea that might be appreciated by the object of her concern -- tell her that her tone should be one of diffidence, not confidence, or at least take the form of a question ("Do you think that..."). Or that she should run her idea by you first. Tell her that it is generally true that when people’s problems are easy to solve, they solve them. What’s left are the difficult problems. So something that seems like it has a straightforward solution probably has layers and difficulties she cannot know about. …And therefore she should first ask you before she suggests that Joe, who just got kicked out of his apartment, could move in with his ex-girlfriend Clara and her husband, since they have a spare room.

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+1 for discussing with her topics that might be private or sensitive. –  Meg Coates Dec 9 '13 at 18:35
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