Helping Your Child Learn Social Skills Without Being Overbearing

| 12/19/2018 1:15:00 PM

Many new parents erroneously believe that social skills develop naturally in children without any guidance. However, social skills, like any other skill, develop with practice. Fostering healthy social skills in children requires the intervention of parents and caretakers.

While some children exhibit what seem like fixed personality traits such as a tendency toward shyness or gregariousness, all children can and must learn how to clearly communicate with others and navigate their way through difficult interactions. Aiding children in skills such as showing empathy toward others and assertively stating their desires prepares children for adult interactions and can, in some cases, keep children safer, as articulate, empowered children know how to explain to parents if someone else's behavior becomes inappropriate.

While parents should guide children, helicopter parenting prevents children from learning how to assert themselves. Following these tips will help you in teaching social skills to your children without diminishing their own unique spark.

group of kids playing tug of war
Photo by Anna Samoylova on Unsplash

Show More Than Tell

How many of us grew up with parents who told us to do as they said, not as they did? While this sounds great in theory, in reality, children learn far more from imitating their parents' behavior than they do from all the lectures in the world.

Therefore, modeling appropriate social skills in a variety of situations teaches children how to behave when faced with similar scenarios on their own. Parents should take care to avoid reacting in negative ways such as shouting whenever possible. Parents do well to model disagreements not as friendship-ending crises but rather a natural part of interactions between people with different ways of seeing the world.

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