Top Ten Reasons for Parents to Proactively Teach Social and Emotional Skills

We now understand that higher-level thinking is more likely to occur in the brain of a student who is emotionally secure than in the brain of a student who is scared, upset, anxious, or stressed.

― Mawhinney and Sagan

These top ten reasons are based upon solid research conducted in schools across the country with children who are taught social and emotional skills. As parents, we teach our children about emotions and social interactions everyday through modeling. For the most part, we are largely unaware of what we are teaching. Simply being aware of our modeling helps us be more intentional about our responses and how they might impact our children’s understandings of emotions, responses to situations, and interactions with others.

Top ten reasons why a parent should proactively teach social and emotional skills:

  1. Child Well Being – Children will have a greater sense of well being.
  2. Goal Achievement – It prepares children for setting, perservering and achieving any goal they might set for themselves.
  3. Resiliency – When major life crises occur, your children will be ready and resilient with coping strategies. They will have the ability to deal with the problem and move on.
  4. Development – It gives them every opportunity to maximize their development and learning and become the best version of themselves.
  5. Academic Achievement – Learning is social in nature. If there is a trusting relationship with teachers and classmates, if students take some responsibility for their own learning, if they have the opportunity to work together, they will be more motivated and engaged. And if their development is supported, there are more opportunities for learning to occur.
  6. Strong Relationships – They will have confidence in building and sustaining relationships with others including family, teachers, future bosses, spouses, neighbors, and their own children.
  7. Connected Family – It helps build a more trusting, caring family life to promote all members’ sense of well being.
  8. Strong Partnership – It strengthens a partnership through raised awareness and action taken to deepen connections between partners to set the climate for the whole family.
  9. Marketable Skills – Nationally the greatest job growth projected for the next ten years is in educational services, health care, social assistance, professional and business services; fields that require “knowledge workers.” Employers searching for entry level candidates are most concerned about personal traits and social skills.[i] The most critical skills include communication, interpersonal relations, and basic academics such as math, reading, critical thinking, and problem solving.[ii]
  10. Independent, Confident People – Of all of the time and money spent on enrichment activities, excurriculars, toys, and tools, these are the most critical life tools that will enable children to develop into independent, confident, competent adults.


Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (2004). Building academic success on social and emotional learning; What does the research say? New York, NY: Teachers College Press

[i] Committee for Economic Development (CED). (1985). Investing in our children. New York: Author.

[ii] Ascher, C. (2000). High school graduates in entry level jobs: What do employers want? ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY.


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