Google+ Authentic Parenting: Social Skills And Character

Friday, September 17, 2010

Social Skills And Character

I wrote about collective care and social skills in a previous post, but there is so much more I would like to say about these wonderful, magical social skills we are so worried about.

Image: DesheBoard on Flickr
A lot of how we interact with people may come from the environment we grew up in, the social behavior we got modelled, the way we were raised, socially. But that is not all. Wether and how an individual acquires social skills is also highly dependant on character. And that's not something any form of daycare or no daycare, schooling or no schooling will change, nor should we seek to change this.
The world needs introverts and extroverts, leaders and followers, people who thrive on their own and people who need large groups of friends.

Out of the same 'nest'children can grow up to have entirely different attitudes when it comes to being social (or not). Comparably, children who have followed the same academic path turn out completely different when it comes to people skills.

I think the fear about socialization is highly overrated. People will seek out the amount of interactions they need in order to thrive, for one person this will be massive amounts, for another little or none. Is either person worth less? Will one of them 'achieve' more in ife then the other, purely based on the way they interact with their environment? Is socialization a measure for succes?

Even if we would take the definition of succes that our modern society holds, a lot of socially handicapped people go very far in life by these standards. (I personally know a fysicist who has achieved a lot academically and has a nicely paid job, but who has no social skills, or friends or any other form of close relationship whatsoever.) So why then is this such a big concern? If socialization isn't a part of the equation that leads to fulfill the big dream according to western society, than western society should stop worrying about it altogether.



  1. Maybe we should not be worried about it, but I do think that you have it easier in life when you are more adept at social skills. What was all that about emotional intelligence being more important that IQ?

  2. I completely agree that emotional intelligence is very important. Of course we should consider the skills our children build in this department, but not when it goes against their nature. And that there are no 'magic tricks' to have a social child

  3. I don't want a social child. I want a happy child.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. I have recently felt bombarded with 'helpful advice' from people who think that my son's shyness can be 'fixed' by sending him to pre school. yes, he is shy, but it's not a flaw. And he's only shy when he is with people/in places that he isnt familiar with, which actually makes good evolutionary sense. He is who he is, and I love him for it. Why would I force him into situations that i know will make him uncomfortable? *sigh*

  5. Ain't it funny? When your child doesn't immediately engage, he's shy and somehow awkward. When he does, he's outgoing. When an adult doesn't immediately engage, he's reserved, calculated, when and adult does immediately engage in contact, he's obnoxious, over enthousiast... Two different measures
    If we'd all respect our children's character in social situations, when they grow up, they will not have the social awkwardness many adults now encounter, they will not have to feel phoney all the time


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