There are many children in the world who have inherent trouble interacting with others. There are a great many reasons why this is true. Regardless of the reasons, having sound social skills can help your child succeed in school, friendship, work and other important aspects of their lives. Social skills are not easily taught, and your child may need training and constant reinforcement so that they can learn how to interact with others and behave in public settings. Children often need a structured environment to learn these very important social skills when they are not leaning them naturally through the life situations and experiences that they go through on a daily basis.
Social skills may seem like an innate part of some children’s temperament; however, some kids do struggle with what seem to be “easy” social cues, triggers and situations. Here are six social skills to consider if you believe that your child may be struggling with common public settings, situations and experiences in their daily lives.
There are many skills that go into effective communication. Children often struggle with communicating who they are and what makes them unique to others. This kind of skill is important when building friendships. As children learn to get across their values and interests, they increase their self-acceptance and self-confidence. This helps them make connections with other children.
Many children who have trouble with social interaction choose the wrong tactics for introducing themselves to other children like bragging to try to get attention or hanging back and being ignored. Teachings your child good communications skills with help him or her later in life.
Nonverbal Communication Skills
Nonverbal skills can be just as important as verbal skills. People often pay more attention to the way that words and said and the way a person looks when saying them than they do to what is being said. It has been said that up to 85% of communication is nonverbal.
One of the skills most often taught in nonverbal communication training is body language. Body language consists of facial expressions, eye contact, posture, physical appearance, and awareness of physical distance. Paralanguage is the other most often taught skill. Paralanguage includes accent, inflection, volume, tone and any articulation skills necessary to get the point across. Your child will also need to learn to pick up on these nonverbal cues as well.
Feeling Expression Skills
The ability to express feelings is an important factor in a child’s emotional development. Teaching children to express and control their feelings will not only help them become more socially accepted, but will also help them to develop a good foundation for the rest of their emotional lives. Many psychological professionals believe that emotional and social skills training in childhood can set the foundation for a child to be able to develop more intimate relationships later in life.
Problem Solving Skills
Children are often not given the chance to really explore their own problem solving skills. The adults in their lives are very likely to jump in before the child has really had a chance to make any progress. Children have an amazing capacity to be able to work things out for themselves with a little encouragement. Problem solving skills are mostly developed with real life situations rather than the skills being taught. Exposing your child to a variety of different kinds of situations and different kinds of conversations will give him or her a boost in working things out.
Listening skills are something that most children struggle with. Listening skills are essential for effective social communication. Many children are so focused on making their own points in a conversation that they forget to listen to what the other person involved in the conversation is saying. The ability to listen and respond appropriately is part of some children’s temperament, but if they are not, they can be fueled and encouraged.
Children who have trouble with listening skills are usually screened for other kinds of problems before skills training begins. It is possible that he or she has a learning disability or a hearing problem that is keeping him or her from responding appropriately. Once these items are ruled out, then listening skills training can begin.
Conflict Management Skills
Conflict between children (and adults for that matter) is inevitable. Your child’s ability to resolve minor conflict will be a major part of his or her social success. Studies suggest that teaching children positive alternatives to anger and fighting are the most direct way to reduce public behavioral problems. When adults are not present, groups of children tend to be led by the most outgoing of the group, but conflict management skills can lead your child to become a different kind of group leader. Other children will begin to turn to your child when they need help.
Being patient with your child while he or she goes through the process of learning social skills is essential. Your patience with them will teach them a lesson in itself. It may not always be easy, but getting your child help with learning certain social skills can help ensure that your child has a happy healthy, and successful future.