Social skills are those skills used in communicating and interacting with others, either verbal or non-verbal. During childhood many things can get in the way of developing efficient social skills, such as: shyness, high intelligence, physical or mental illness, migration to a new country, an inhibited or anxious personality, being teased or bullied, or even having very peculiar tastes or interests that don’t mesh well with those around us. Counselling is a great opportunity to learn about these causes and improve social skills. More concretely, for children and youth many aspects can improve:
- Happier home life: improved communication with parents and other family members helps build stronger, healthier relationships.
- Healthier social life: effectively identifying emotions in ourselves and others increases the chances of choosing the right timing, topic and tone of conversation. This builds confidence, since it reduces or chances of rejection or dismissal. Learning to assert their thoughts, feelings and personal boundaries more clearly helps reduce more stressful situations like excessive teasing or bullying.
- Better academic results: positive communication with teachers and peer helps build empathy among them and decrease anxiety during their interactions. Increased social interactions also mean more opportunities to practice problem solving, a key life-skill, that feeds intelligence, creativity and autonomy.
- Increased self-esteem, decreased stress: this comes from a deeper understanding of themselves and more positive participation in their social network. Becoming more willing and able to express their needs, means these will be more frequently met. Met needs mean crisis and stress behaviors diminish in frequency and intensity, and so does much the frustration and anger that may induce them.
With stress at bay, confidence and happiness can flourish!
So, if you notice your child is unhappy, struggling, or being teased. Having a difficult time making friends, or participating in group activities, know that counselling can help.
Focus: Child and adolescent therapy, mood disorders, eating disorders, social anxiety, immigration adjustment, behavioral issues, ADHD, OCD.