Parenting and Coaching Social Skills

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by Dr. Caron Goode

Is your child welcomed in groups or is he avoided by many? The option depends on you. Even as adults we know that there are some people whom we meet and interact with in friendly ways and some whom we would like to keep at a distance. It is the general manner in which one conducts oneself in public that dictates whether you are a pleasing personality or a grumpy one. Pleasant people generally have the capability of networking, being good team members, and finding close friends. They’ll perceive others as more co-operative.
Interacting with people is an unavoidable part of life whether it is for work or recreation. While some children come naturally to friendships and play, other children are shy. Moreover, some may not know what behavior is appropriate for specific social situations.
There are various aspects that contribute to conducting oneself properly. Certain behaviors that may be acceptable at home are not acceptable in school. Here are some tips on what to include in helping your child develop appropriate social skills.
Model Respect
Explain how people should be respected through simple acts of kindness. Te receive respect, we give others respect. A polite good morning to the teacher, helping a friend, walking their pet. These are small actions every day that bring smiles and positive feedback from others.
Being caring and gentle is a great positive while interacting with other people. The beginning of this trait can start from the manner in which children treat their pets. Taking care of a pet does generalize into responsible action toward others. The same principle applies to taking care of toys or completing homework carefully. 
Beware of aggressive behavior
If your child shows aggressive behavior at home, chances are that he may be bullying outside the home. Bullies may get away with what they want in the short run but they generally do not survive in the adult world. Aggressive behavior in school may arise from lack of self-confidence that manifests itself in aggression. It could also arise from some frustration that the child is facing. Bullies are avoided by most children in school and are never wanted in a group. The best way to address bullying behavior is to understand and tackle the root cause of the behavior rather than scold your child for the aggression. What needs does your child have to connect, converse, or be heard.
Another interpersonal skill is the willingness to share and lend his belongings. Help them understand the joys of sharing and experience the gratification of a warm ‘thank you’ hug at the age- appropriate time. The ability to share should not be limited to only possessions. On should share friends and people also. A child who makes and effort to include a newcomer in class in a twosome friendship will soon realize the benefits by making more and more friends.
Ensuring that your child learns these skills will not only enable you to feel proud of your child but also ensure that he will be surrounded by well meaning friends all his life.
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