About Social and Emotional Development
Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.
– Roger Lewin
Kids with strong social and emotional skills are confident communicators. They have a sense of who they are, both their strengths and limitations. They can identify their emotions and actively manage those emotions in a constructive way. They know how to build and maintain friendships with peers and relationships with adults. They can play and problem solve collaboratively. And they can evaluate the consequences of a decision and make responsible choices based on that evaluation. Parents can be confident that when our children are at school, at summer camp, or involved in a community project, they have the skills to relate to others in ways that are caring, constructive, and contributing. And when our children are faced with difficult decisions, they are equipped with the tools to think through the consequences of their actions, empathize with others involved, and ultimately make a responsible choice.
Much of what children learn from their parents is through modeling. They learn through our actions and choices. Developing social and emotional skills is a continual lifelong learning process. We can always become more empathetic, practice patience, improve our response to conflict situations, and deepen our listening and reflection abilities. Just being more aware of ourselves as social and emotional models for our kids can impact our choices and reactions to day-to-day situations.
What are the critical social and emotional skills kids need to learn?
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago identifies five core areas of skill development (2015).
Self-awareness – the ability to identify one’s emotions, the causes of those emotions, and reflect upon and examine the behaviors or responses to those emotions to learn from them and make better choices if necessary.
Social awareness – the ability to identify and understand the emotions of others (empathy) in order to choose a response or behavior that demonstrates sensitivity to those emotions.
Self-management – the ability to control one’s emotions and behaviors in order to persist toward the accomplishment of a goal and/or promote and strengthen a relationship with another.
Relationship skills – the abilities that foster the growth of a connection with another person or group including verbal and nonverbal communication skills, listening, managing emotions, and constructive problem-solving.
Responsible Decision Making – the ability to make choices that not only move a person toward a goal but also demonstrate responsibility by consideration of the consequences to all others who could be affected by the decision and acting according to the best outcomes for all. After making a choice, taking responsibility for the consequences of that choice is necessary as well.
For more about social and emotional development, check out:
The Power of Parenting with Social and Emotional Learning by Jennifer Miller, The Huffington Post Education Section
Chinese Translation – The Power of Parenting with Social and Emotional Learning by Xiangyan Liu (Yannie Liu) 刘湘燕 and Wenchao Li (Winnie Li) 李文超 of Angel Education
© Copyright, 2020, Jennifer Smith Miller. All rights reserved.