Saturday, November 5, 2016

How Parents Can Help Develop Social Competence

How parents can help children develop social competence can be placed into three categories: fostering social knowledge and understanding, strengthening interactive skills and providing social skills training. The first one, fostering social knowledge, can be done by teaching children  to understand the perspective  of another person.  Children need to realize that other children's experiences and home life are different from theirs. Parents should talk to their children about other children's feelings and interests and help them understand the effect their behavior has on others. For example, if a child comes to school with the same clothes on everyday a parent needs to explain that some parents can't afford more than just one outfit for their children. This helps them understand that home life for everyone isn't the same.

Parents can strengthen interactive skills by encouraging alternative interpretations of behaviors. When children put labels on other children a parent can help the child find other ways to interpret the child's behavior. For example, if a child is put into a group to work on a project and one of the other participants in the group isn't doing anything the child may think they're lazy. The parent can ask, "Did anyone give them something to do? Do they need help doing whatever task is their's to do? Questions like these help a child learn about communication. Sometimes labels are put on people because of a lack of communication. It's not that the child in the group is lazy or unwilling to carry their weight, it's that no one in the group assigned a task for the to do and they were left with nothing to do or needing help.

Children learn social skills by participating in social interactions with friends. Children learn important social information from positive social interactions and they need to know the impact of their behavior on others in order for them to learn to behave in socially appropriate ways. For example, if a child starts to talk about another child behind their back when another child stands up for them and has their back, they learn what a positive social interaction looks like and that to defend the person is a socially appropriate way to behave and that talking about a person behind their back is inappropriate.

All three of these categories help children learn social skills and how to have social appropriate interactions with others.

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