The Importance of Social Competencies

By Pam Phillippe

Growing up is a lot like learning to play the piano.  You need to learn some basic skills and you need someone to teach you those skills.  You need time to practice, guidance as you gain experience, and feedback along the way.

The best way for parents to teach their children basic skills is by following these four steps:

  • Demonstrate the skill and let you child watch.
  • Do the skill together with your child.
  • Let you child do the skill alone while you watch.
  • Give feedback along the way.

These four steps may happen more quickly for skills that you child learns easily, but they may take years if you’re trying to help your child develop assertiveness, planning and decision-making skills.  The important key is that you stick with your child along the way.

Social competencies are the skills and life perspectives children need to develop into healthy, competent adults.  These skills come in handy on a daily basis, but they’re even more crucial when your child hits the hang-ups and bang-ups of life.  The more skills your child has, the more likely he or she will navigate through the maze of life.

Source:  Healthy Communities, Healthy Youth Initiative, Search Institute

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