consistent parenting advice
consistent parenting advice

Social Competence

Developing Social Intelligence

Social competence is learned by children through observation and participation. Children 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.

social competence It also involves learning how to get on with people you may not like!

Nowadays, 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.

We learn 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 on our 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.

social competence 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 character values.

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 greater community.

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?

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
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
social competence 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.
  • Be aware of bullying
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 emotions
Whether 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 two strategies.

More articles in this series:
consistent parenting advice 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.

Working 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 and being.

Happy 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.

How 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.

Releasing 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.

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