Have you ever noticed children in public who appear to have ‘no home training’ on socially acceptable behavior? Is there a formula to instill social skills in our children?
Some adults may remember an old school practice where, before an outing to the grocery store or to attend an event or visit a friend’s house, your mother laid down the law. She talked to you about your social behavior. Her expectations were defined in clear and explicit terms.
Possible consequences for any failure to comply with the required standard were made just as clear during the talk.
Parents should remain didactic about instilling certain basic social skills in their young children. There is a formula to lay down a foundation of social skills in our children. It starts with talking.
Here are some suggestions for 10 social skills to instill in your children. Can you think of a few more essentials to add to the list?
*1. When speaking to an adult or person of authority, teach your child to hold their head up and look them in the eye. Children should develop the skill of making eye contact and speaking in a clear voice with confidence and kindness during any conversation.
*2. Take pride in yourself and your appearance. With consideration for fads and fashion, teach your children to remember their attire is an external advertisement for who they are, a reflection of their personality and their character.
*3. Learn to say NO and walk away. Teach your child to be alert to situations where their safety and the safety of others will depend on your child having the strength to say no and just walk away. Teach your children not to be intimidated.
*4. Honesty is the best policy. Personal integrity is vital to a child’s self esteem and their public reputation. Teach your children to be truthful and honest. Dishonesty will always lead to disaster sooner or later.
*5. Be pleasant in social settings. Teach your child to wear a smile to put others at ease and have a sense of humor. In social settings, teach your children to ask others about their interests and look for similarities to promote friendly conversation. Avoid aggressive confrontations.
*6. Those who gossip with you will gossip about you. Teach your children not to listen to gossip or participate in the gossip being said. The negative and hurtful words that you hear and say today could just as well be turned on you tomorrow. Look for words that heal where gossip hurts.
*7. Do YOU. Know yourself and have confidence in yourself and be yourself. Teach your child to think about their identity. Set goals for their immediate plans and their future success. Choose to be the best that you can be, remain true to your beliefs and do YOU..
*8. Respect the rights of others. Teach your children to never steal. Never harm a person of good will. Never pry or ask unwelcome or embarrassing questions that are uncomfortable for someone to answer. Seek to be a source of positive reinforcement for others.
*9. Be helpful. When the occasion presents itself and they are able, teach your child to assist someone in need. Teach your child to be ready to offer support to small children and the elderly if they are needed.
*10. Your past does not determine your future. Teach your child to be industrious and motivated and how to keep moving forward. Remind them they are capable of sitting in the palace with the king or wallowing in the gutter with the rats depending on their social skills.
In everyday conversations, guide your children with specific examples for how to handle social situations. Your child should be confident and never feel embarrassed or shy in any social situation.
Social skills improve with self confidence. Point out to your children their accomplishments and strengths. Emphasize their potential. Give your child a sense of their purpose, their direction and their capabilities in life.
Repeat and apply often.