Building the Social Competencies Assets

Social Competencies—Young people need the skills to build positive relationships, put their values into action, and cope with new situations.

As a parent, you are already one of your child’s key asset builders. Here are tips on how you can take your parenting to the next level by intentionally focusing on the five Social Competencies Assets: Planning and Decision Making, Interpersonal Competence, Cultural Competence, Resistance Skills, and Peaceful Conflict Resolution.

Tips for . . .

  • all parents
    • Include your children in family discussions and decisions. Be sure to solicit their opinions if they are reluctant to share them.
    • Help connect your kids to opportunities to learn and develop skills through classes, programs, or relationships to other responsible adults and peers.
    • Accept your children’s friends of different races, religions, and other differences. Have diverse friends yourself, and invite them over to meet your kids.
    • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Be aware that when you and your child meet new people together, your child will be watching you to see how you handle the situation. Make good choices.
    • Be patient with young children as they learn new skills. Teach them how to be a friend, such as asking someone what he or she wants to do and taking turns picking what to play.
    • If you ask a young child to make a choice, be sure you’re prepared to honor all the options. For example, instead of asking if he or she is ready for bed, you might say, “It’s time for bed. Would you like one story or two?”
    • parents with children ages 6 to 9
    • Some decisions or plans have many steps. Help children consider all of the steps and remind them about things they may have overlooked. For example, if a child needs to buy a gift for a friend’s birthday, talk about what kinds of toys the friend likes. Set a budget and a timeline. Find several options, then let your child pick the best one.
    • Teach your children to resolve conflicts peacefully. This involves helping them identify and control their emotions.
    • Talk with your children about what they and you think makes a good friend. For example, good friends care about each other. They listen to each other. They help each other. They enjoy playing together.
    • parents with children ages 10 to 15
    • When your children receive long-term school assignments, offer to help them plan and make decisions in order to finish on time.
    • Teach your children that kids who pressure them to do things they know they shouldn’t do are not true friends at all. Talk about times when you had to let go of a friendship that wasn’t helpful to you.
    • Realize that in order to learn from mistakes, children have to make mistakes. Don’t blow up when they make a poor choice. Don’t rescue them from natural consequences.
    • parents with children ages 16 to 18
    • Give your teenagers full responsibility for planning and preparing a family meal at least once a month. At first, help them so that they can learn all the steps it takes to cook a family meal.
    • Point out to your children that in any situation not making a choice is making a choice—it’s choosing not to choose. Explain how this gives someone else the power to determine what happens next.
  • Make your home welcoming to your teenagers’ friends. Get to know their friends. Tell your teens what you admire about their friends.

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