Two weeks ago, I encouraged my readership to send me topics they’d like me to cover. ”How do I teach my 8 year old son social skills that will serve him well into adulthood?” was the very first proposal I got, and this piece is my straight forward no fluff response.
First of all I’d like to say that Parenting is a blessing, an opportunity and a privilege for everyone involved. Regardless of the circumstances, no child should ever be judged based on their parental situation. However, too often many single moms take on the stress to seek a man or a husband, who can be an in-house example to their male child. There is no denial from the fact that just like there are many a good woman in the world there are many good and able-bodied men too, however not all people both male or female are cut out to be parental material. Therefore in our quest to fill in the ”father figure” gap great caution must be applied in ensuring this move is the right one.
Single black moms with little boys find themselves under pressure to teach their boys how to be a man. They have to teach their boys social skills besides number of other things to help them grow into a respectable man in the society. Here are 4 simple ways black single moms can teach their children social skills.
Discuss the importance of social skills with your boys
Before you begin talking or teaching social skills to your boys, they need to know why these skills are important. Remember besides learning by watching you they don’t have the advantage to learn by observing from their male parent (father). Discuss some examples with your boys where they have experienced lack of cooperation because of poor social skills. Facilitate them in brainstorming a list of social skills that they could or should start working on.
Learning social skills can be overwhelming since there are just too many things to cover. The key is to start with just one skill at a time. Choose for them one skill to work on. Experts suggest to start with ‘skill of praising/compliments’. Each week you can select a new skill for your boys to learn. Here is a list of skills that should help your boys develop good social skills (or people skill):
- Complimenting others
- Encouraging others
- Participating equally
- Sharing materials
- Asking for help
- Accepting differences
- Disagreeing politely
- Communicating clearly
- Resolving conflicts
- Listening actively and attentively
- Staying on tasks
- Following directions
- Taking risk
- Taking turns
- Waiting patiently
- Using quite but assured voice
Help your boys practice skills
It’s just not enough to sit and brainstorm with your boy about each of these skills. Your boys need to identify exact situations when they are expected to practice those skills. You should identify opportunities for them that can help your boys practice those skills in the house.
At the end of the week, have a time alone with your son to discuss how well the skill were used and what more can be done to improve it. Use more of encouraging words and examples where you can appreciate them. Interrupt and help your child realize when they don’t behave as expected to various situations.
What works for you? I believe there are bound to be many other ways to teach boys social skills, share by commenting below.