Developing Social Intelligence
by children through observation
learn social competence from how their parents treat them, and how their
parents treat others. Then
they put it into practice on each other.
Social intelligence requires having the ability to understand the
emotional and social cues of others, learning how to regulate your
emotions, and being able to express yourself adequately to others.
It also involves learning how to get on with people you may not like!
with so much emphasis on intellectual achievements, it pays for us to
remember that a large part of the way our children act socially, is determined by their
interactions at home, at preschool and at school.
to be social, and at the basis of this is the early, consistent nurturing
that gives babies a strong sense of attachment.
Much research points to the
notion that the nature of early attachment has a significant impact
children's emotional adjustments as they grow.
Social Competence Comes From the Heart
It's important to realize that developing empathetic consideration of others
is paramount to a child's social competence.
We are talking not about what
happens in their minds, so much as what occurs in their hearts
If you learn to think about it in this way, then you realize you are helping your child to
develop compassion, understanding, empathy, patience, tolerance and honesty, among many other
Your children will respond to all the cues they are given, firstly by you,
then by their extended family, then by their school world, and finally by their
If we concentrate on teaching our children how to grow and
develop within their inner self, their heart, then we are fostering happy,
confident, respectful children who are then sponge-like in their capacity for learning.
We are enabling the growth of their own inner capacity for self love and care, self repect, resilience, self image, pride, honesty - all that makes up the value system of their integrity.
How Can We Foster Social Competence?
- Be aware of your child's need for social contact.
Children need real social interaction with others so they can mimic what they know, practice it
on others, and be a recipient of their young friends burgeoning social skills.They
need plenty of practice, but at their pace. This also includes time to play alone in spontaneous free play as well.
Help your child to cope with negative emotions.
Make a point of teaching your children that emotion such as fear, anger or sadness can be expressed. Show them how you deal with situations yourself. Your children are watching you for these valuable lessons.
- Look for ways to discuss how other people are feeling
You can do this during reading times by asking questions such as, "How do you think your friend feels?" "How would you feel if this was you?" You can use show and tell situations to teach your
children about empathy.
Use consequences as a way of showing your children how their
behavior impacts on others. If your toddler hits out at you or hurts you, have a
consequence ready so you can use the situation to teach him how his actions affect others. This might be removing him from play to the other end of the room or simply sitting him down and looking him squarely in the eyes while you tell him NO!
- Explain that feelings have causes
For instance, when you threw your food on the floor, Mummy felt upset and sad that you cannot have it now. Explaining their behavior in terms of causes and outcomes greatly helps children to develop empathetic understanding. They slowly learn that what they do causes a response in others and conversely, that other's actions can have an outcome for their feelings too. This is an imporatnt connection to make.
Even if your child is not a part of this, as bully or a victim of bullying, teach them to
speak out on behalf of others when they see someone being attacked. Developing
social competence is about learning how others are affected and knowing what
is right and wrong.
Do read this fascinating article from the American
Psychological Assoc.©PsycNET 2008
Consistent Parenting helps children regulate their emotionsWhether children maintain a fearful or inhibited temperament seems related to
how parents respond to their youngster's negative emotions.
In general, the parents whose children's emotional style improved used
More articles in this series:
Emotional Intelligence - What is it?
Having emotional intelligence means not only recognising your emotions but acting on them reflectively and rationally.
It also involves your ability to feel and express a whole range of feelings and to understand your resistances, boundaries and projections while moving toward emotional wholeness.
with Emotional Intelligence
Here are some useful steps to take in working with emotional
intelligence. If this is new to you, be kind, gentle and patient with
yourself as you open to different and more vigorous ways of thinking
Child - helping our children to express their feelings
There is a great deal we as
parents can do to help our children to
acknowledge and express their feelings, to become a happy child.
to express emotions through talking
Talking about how we feel is really one of the most adequate ways of
expressing feelings. It takes courage, timing, opportunity and a good
listener. This is important.
emotions through crying
Crying is a natural way of releasing emotions from our bodies. Those,
for whom crying comes easily, often remark about how much better they feel
after a good cry. But for many, there is much fear associated
with appearing vulnerable and letting go, shame about being seen to
cry, or a life time of suppressed tears that just will not come.
Personality Quiz Site - Fun personality tests.