Socialisation: On the Back Foot

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At school, I was not very popular. I was a really weird kid, with terrible social skills.

My Mother and Father are both alcoholics and spent the majority of my formative years drunk.

During my degree at University, I took a class on child development. Something I read stood out to me;  children in their early years learn their social skills from their parents. Well, what if your parents were always drunk? My social skills early on, were therefore a bit “off”….

-I used to repeat the same sentence or story over and over in the space of a few minutes because that’s what I saw at home. Teacher’s and my peers found this very odd.

-I had no boundaries and would talk about personal and inappropriate things because again, that’s what I’d seen my parent’s do.

-I used to laugh at things that weren’t funny to anyone else.

-I used to be physically and verbally aggressive and was genuinely surprised when I got told off at school; because I saw it home, I had no idea it was wrong.

-I used to shout, instead of talk. Teachers thought I might be deaf, turns out I was just mirroring drunk behaviour.

Unfortunately my lack of social skills really put me on the back foot. Because I was so strange, I was bullied. I therefore felt rejected. I had no idea as to why people didn’t like me, all I did was what I thought was normal behavior. I think as society we underestimate the huge impact alcohol and drug use, particularly addictions, can have on children.

I had to learn social skills as an adolescent, when I finally clicked my parents weren’t actually normal and neither was their drinking. This in itself was a huge challenge, I was teaching myself things as a teenager most people learn from their parents, as toddlers.

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