It seems the world is growing more impersonal by the day.
Life isn’t what it used to be, and your children will face challenges different from what you experienced growing up.
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As the world becomes more connected with the internet and social media, the importance of teaching your children social confidence is growing.
Distinguishing between the online world and the real world may not seem like an important life skill to have. But to a child, the barriers between the two are different.
Life online has encroached into nearly every other aspect of life.
Sometimes it’s to the detriment of social skill development that has, historically, occurred naturally as they interact with others at home and at school.
In the modern era, though, teaching your child how to grow into themselves has become a critical to them leading happy and healthy lives.
Building social confidence will not only help them foster healthy relationships and connections, but it will help them succeed at school, as well (and in the workplace, god forbid they ever grow up).
Building your child’s social confidence
Lacking social confidence can manifest itself in many ways.
Sometimes it’s something as innocent as shyness. In extreme cases, however, mental disorders such as social anxiety can develop.
Anxiety can have detrimental effects on a growing child’s social life, school performance, and will often interfere with relationships and work later in life.
To prevent this, help build their social confidence using the following steps:
- Discuss why social skills are important
- Before you begin teaching your child how to build social confidence, explain to them why it’s important.
- Choose which social skill they will learn
- Focus on developing one skill at a time to avoid confusion and to keep them focused on one thing at a time.
- Educate and coach them on a particular skill
- Note the words “educate” and “coach.” These skills are new to your child and they need to be shown how to develop them.
- Practice the skill
- Following a discussion of what a certain skill is, have them practice developing, for example, listening skills or making an apology.
- Review and reflect on what they just learned and practiced
- By taking a moment to review a social skill, your child will be better able to retain the knowledge and apply it to different situations.
As your child becomes more confident in social settings, they will gain self-esteem and learn how to love themselves for who they are.
Now, let’s examine the different ways teaching your child social confidence will enhance their growth:
1. Improving social development
There are multiple facets to a child’s social development. It’s an on-going process that should begin early on and continue throughout primary school.
By actively teaching them how to behave in social settings, children will learn how to navigate the sometimes confusing world of social dynamics.
But with practice, your child will gain confidence and self-esteem. As they grow, they will find themselves better able to handle a wide range of social situations in healthy ways and how to stick up for their beliefs.
2. Developing emotional intelligence
By practicing and developing social confidence, your child will become more in-tune with their feelings and what makes them feel that way.
As they learn and grow, they will also learn empathy and how to be mindful of how other people feel.
Greater emotional intelligence will also give them the skills necessary to process and respond to both positive and negative emotions.
Additionally, it will allow them to act on and pursue situations and relationships which reward them with positive emotions such as joy and happiness.
3. Manners and positive interactions
Saying “please” and “thank you” can go a long way. These pleasantries are basic to social interactions and their importance should be emphasized.
The old adage “treat others as you would have them treat you” is a good way to begin teaching your child about manners and the importance of positive interactions.
Furthermore, teaching manners informs children on how to treat others with respect. Everyone has the right to feel comfortable in a social situation.
4. Managing social situations
Social dynamics can be weird at times.
Have you ever encountered someone that didn’t respond to social cues? Social interactions adhere to unwritten laws, such as giving others their personal space.
But if these skills are never learned, a child may encounter difficulties when connecting with others.
Whether it’s in a one-on-one or a group setting, it’s important your child learns how to differentiate between varying social situations.
5. Improved conflict resolution
Life is filled with difficult situations, as well as difficult people.
By teaching children how to conduct themselves in varying social situations, they will have the social confidence required to stand up for themselves and for what’s right.
Confrontations can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to result in feelings of anxiety and fear of condemnation.
Showing your little one how to stay calm in difficult situations will give them the confidence to face and grow from interactions they may have otherwise been hurtful.
6. Enhancing success in school
Practicing social confidence also teaches children how to properly behave in school.
Even something simple as knowing how to get a teacher’s attention or how to ask for help can give them the confidence necessary to perform well in school.
It also teaches them how to respond to social cues and adjust their behavior accordingly.
By actively participating in class by asking questions, they will be rewarded for their curiosity and as a result, they will want to continue that behavior.
7. Building meaningful relationships
People suck. Teach your kid how to treat people with respect and they will learn to expect (and accept) the respect they deserve in return.
By helping them develop social skills, they will learn how to behave within social norms. But they will also learn to how to respond to those that treat them unfairly or without kindness.
Practicing empathy creates a two-way street for cultivating relationships. As they learn how to interact with genuine interest, they are better able to identify the people that don’t reciprocate their respect.
Do you have any additional tips on teaching social confidence to children? Share them with us in the comments!