Teaching important life skills
Feb. 16, 2015
by Jenni Sebora

As a teacher, I have much literature and information about what kids should know how to do at certain age levels. That is how our school systems function. For example, children should know how to do multiplication by a certain grade level.

Of course, these academic skills are important. However, social skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and conflict resolution skills are at the top of the list in the long run in terms of relationships, but also in terms of job success.

I often tell my teenage daughter to put her phone down, look up, and “see” the world around her and have a conversation.

She likes to converse and socialize, but we all know that our young people these days are surrounded by social media and technology. Many times, this technology takes precedence over actual hands-on experiences with their world and people.

We, as adults and parents, have to set boundaries for technology usage, which is a topic for several articles, but this article will focus on important social and personal skills that our young ones need.

Our young people should be able to communicate feelings and thoughts accurately and honestly. They should be able to listen to other’s thoughts and feelings, as well. This is reciprocal communication, and is necessary in relationships.

We want and need our children to develop and maintain friendships, be appropriately assertive in relationships (not aggressive or passive), resolve conflicts with others in mutual ways, and be able to compromise with others.

Each child should be able to identify their own strengths, skills, and interests, and choose activities that are consistent with their value systems.

As children grow and mature, they need to know that their behavior has consequences – both positive and negative.

Problem-solving, as well as coping with difficult situations (mistakes, conflict, teasing) are necessary skills.

We, as adults, need to help our children develop and learn these skills through our own actions and words. Our children see and watch how we deal with conflict, and how we communicate with others and them.

These social skills and coping skills are as important as any skills.

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