Why is it important for children to learn socialization skills and how can teachers and parents facilitate this learning?

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Answered by: Susan, An Expert in the Emotional and Physical Growth Category
It is important for children to learn socialization skills in school and at home. Children are naturally egocentric, thinking of themselves as the center of their world, at birth. It takes development and training to teach children to think of others as well as themselves.

This tendency is not negative, and is inborn in all human beings. However, for children to operate successfully in society, they must learn to interact with others in a healthy, positive, and productive manner. In order to prepare children to be successful in adults, it is crucial that we as adults encourage social interaction, monitor social skills, and teach healthy ways to interact with other children and with adults. Socialization skills are important not only in school but in all of adult life as well.

Children with poor socialization skills are less likely to form healthy intimate relationships as adults, more likely to experience peer rejection, and have a higher likelihood of running into trouble either with the juvenile or adult legal system. Social skills in schools impact safety as well as interpersonal interactions, because students with poor social skills are more likely to demonstrate aggressive or violent behavior, are less likely to be able to self-regulate their behavior, and have trouble asking or accepting help from others, which makes violence a more likely response to conflicts.

Academic performance is also impacted, because students who are shunned by peers develop self-esteem issues, depression, and apathy toward those around them, which makes students less likely to focus their energy on academic achievement. Some of the most important social skills for children to learn are conflict resolution, understanding and forming positive social interactions, valuing other people and their ideas, taking turns, and taking responsibility for their own actions.

In order to teach these skills, both teachers and parents must foster an appropriate social environment by modeling and teaching respectful interactions with others, teaching students to work responsibly together, and responding appropriately to conflicts themselves. It is crucial that the adults involved in the lives of children model appropriate social behavior because children learn from what they see the adults who are important in their lives do, far more than what adults say they should do.

As children grow, they realize that there are others in the world, and that other people have feelings, needs, and desires just like they do. The egocentric mental state that they are born with changes, allowing them to look outside themselves to the people, adult and children, around them. In order to learn socialization skills, children must learn to transfer the child's own thinking to others.

This means that if a child does not like the way someone is treating them, they can realize that that means that if they treat others that way, the people around them are likely to get upset, and they will hurt the person that they are trying to interact with. This realization, along with proper examples from teachers and parents, allows children to tell appropriate from inappropriate social behaviors.

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