Adolescent social success

Remember those awkward days when you had trouble relating to just about everyone? Everyone experienced it to some extent between middle school and high school. How nice it would have been to have someone teach you how to relate to your peers and your family while dealing with that teenage angst.

Kids and parents in the Chicago area can now join a program called Check Mate! A Social Skills Group for Boys and Girls offered through the Center for Contextual Change in Evanston. This new program was designed to help children learn the skills they need to navigate the tough teenage years.

“We’re giving kids social skills to improve their relationships at home and at school,” says therapist Robert Sanoshy.

As the facilitator for the Check Mate! program, Sanoshy meets with a group of children between the ages of 8 and 12 for a 90-minute session for 12 consecutive Friday afternoons. Keeping the group small, to a limit of eight, each child gets the attention they need to learn social skills through activities, art and teamwork.

Kids not only learn how to deal with their families, but also how to interact with their peers. Kids learn more than just how to deal with the opposite sex; they learn skills that will carry with them throughout their lives.

But how do you know if a program like Check Mate! is appropriate for your child? While Sanoshy admits that most people could benefit from this program, he says kids who struggle with peer relationships, get angry easily or whose teachers have reported problems would really benefit.

“Our goal is to help kids learn to manage themselves early on so that they have successful junior high and high school careers,” says Sanoshy.

For more information on upcoming sessions of Check Mate!, contact the Center for Contextual Change at (847) 676-4447 or through its Web site,

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