Skills we want our children to learn
June 10, 2013
by Jenni Sebora

Quite a while ago, I came across an article in my teaching files that identified important behaviors or skills that students should be able to do at some point. I tacked this sheet to the side of my desk as a reminder for myself in both my roles of mother and teacher.

These skills have really nothing to do with academics, but with emotional, social, and psychological development.

We want our children to communicate their feelings and thoughts openly and honestly, both verbally and non-verbally.

This is important. We want our children to be assertive; not passive. We all need to be heard and have feelings validated. These have an impact on our self-worth and self-esteem.

Being able to express ourselves is vital, but so is being able to listen to others’ thoughts and feelings. All relationships require this reciprocal communication.

I speak with my students often about body language, tone of voice, and facial expression, and how this impacts what message we are sending to others. We practice these skills in role model fashion.

In fact, just recently, we practiced expressing our feelings by verbalizing one word, but using tone of voice, gestures, and other body language to express a statement or feeling. Body language can “say” a lot.

Developing and maintaining friendships is important for everyone. It has been said that having a friend is the emotional equivalent to having more than $1 million. Connecting with others and sharing a friendship is a lifelong need.

With relationships of all kinds, whether personal or work relationships, resolving conflicts in a mutually-satisfying way is crucial to relationships.

Helping our children in this process is important. We need to model this skill in our own adult relationships – give-and-take.

Throughout each of our lives, we will all have to cope with difficult situations, be it physical hurting, mistakes made, being teased, or emotional pain. Dealing with difficult situations cannot be avoided, but finding healthy manners in which to deal is the key. We cannot protect our children from all pain, either. We have to teach them how to deal and move on.

As our children grow, identifying personal interests and strengths is important for their well-being. We, as parents, have to remember that their personal interests and strengths may not be the same as our own interests. We need to value our children for who they are and not only allow, but help them grow in their skills and passions.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, and I have not listed all that are tacked to my desk, but I know that these skills are what I want for my own children and my students, as well as for all children.

Helping our children grow and develop in academic skills is important, but personal skills are just as important, if not more, to well-being.

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