A 10 yr. old female student constantly is making cat sounds at the other students. When I confront her she says her cat is her best friend and that they communicate (the cat knows her feelings). She will hiss, purr, etc. at the other kids which call her weird, crazy and she doesn’t seem to care.
It can be very difficult to watch a child engage in behavior that causes them to be rejected by their peers. But often the behavior grows out of a desire for them to make a connection, but they simply do not know how. In psychodrama we have a saying: “The cure for acting out, is acting out.” Since her cat is her pride and joy perhaps set up a “show and tell” for the the class. All the children who have pets could bring in photographs and a pet toy would let her share her cherished companion, while letting her get involved with her classmates though that connection.
Of course if she continues to find ways to alienate herself from others a consultation with the school psychologist or guidance counselor would be in order.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Why is this 10 year old acting like a cat?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/02/why-is-this-10-year-old-acting-like-a-cat/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.