Social skills are the most crucial growth factors in children and adolescents, as they serve as our medium of interaction, communication and opportunities as we walk through life. However, some believe that undeveloped social skills indicate that a child may be neuro-diverse. Most of the time, children naturally pick up skills and behaviours while it is normal for many children not to.
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University stated from their findings that, “youth who scored higher on social skill measurements were four times more likely to graduate from an undergraduate institution. Social skills have also been linked to job success, independence, and emotional well-being. Those with adaptive social skills often demonstrate superior ability in observation, problem-solving, and response in social situations.”
It is not essential that children be social butterflies. Each child has its own personality traits that define the way they interact with others. However, the ability to form positive relationships in life generally helps most individuals thrive. Statistically, it is seen that children with well-developed social skills are likely to gain more confidence in their abilities to approach situations and complete tasks successfully.
It is important that parents notice and evaluate any difficulties faced by their children. Peer rejection, bullying, forced social isolation, depression, anger and anxiety may all lead to poor social skill and interaction. These issues should be addressed and handled with proper care when first noticed by parents or teachers. This will typically help the child feel better and move towards a social atmosphere.
When any challenges regarding social skills and interaction are not addressed, these issues may persist as the child grows up and it can become severe enough an issue having a significant impact on day to day life. I strongly believe that it is absolutely possible for children to learn social skills. Parents, teachers and mental health professionals can all work independently or coordinate together to help children.
It is generally a better idea to teach children phrases they can use to start a conversation, rather than telling them something like, “Don’t ignore people when they talk to you.”
Learning a social skill is complex and takes time to master. Under the right conditions, most children will show improvements, but it is very difficult to improve without the chance to practice. If a child continues to find social skills challenging after parental and classroom assistance and is having difficulties with relational conflict or bullying, it is wise to seek professional help.
Social skills are an important aspect of life and social groups are a great place to learn interaction. They typically provide direct instruction, modelling, role-playing, team building activities, and positive reinforcement thus helping build the necessary skills in your child.