5 ways we’re trying to build our kids’ social skills and moral development
Posted by contentgrrl on November 30, 2007
Although Brazen Careerist inspired my last piece on 10 social skills to help our children build, I have to give due credit to Dr. Lawrence Kohlberg for the stages of moral development, and to Dr. Dale McGowan‘s book, blog, and forum for reinforcing the need to focus on raising ethical, caring children.
To me, those 10 social skills are important to transfer before my dear sons get lost in the mob of the classroom.
So here are five ways we’re working to build our kids’ social skills and moral development:
- We take opportunities to discuss the choices facing us, the plausible results of each option, and how we’ll feel about those results. Not in so many words with the kids. More like, “You can do this, or that. If this, these next things happen. If that, those next things happen. Which do you want to happen, these or those? OK, then, should you choose this, or that?” (Still working on being consistent with this.)
- We praise our boys highly when we notice them making good moral choices. We try to reinforce their pride in specific behaviors and rewards. Again, not in so many words. More like, “Thank you so much for helping to pick up your toys! Look what a great clean floor we have to run and roll around!” and “Thank you for helping to brush your teeth! Go show Daddy how fresh you are!” (Also working on consistency here too.)
- Before we go out, we discuss what we might encounter and review the rules (such as safety precautions, responding to strangers, taking turns, standing in line, holding hands, voice volume).
- We remind them to use courtesy with everyone we meet, and with all friends and family we visit.
- Both boys are getting to the age where they need more socialization opportunities outside the care of their stay-at-home dad. Sure there are always little field trips to museums, zoos, the woods, the playground, the front yard, and visiting friends and family. After this summer’s Bible boot camp with the neighbors, we’re also starting the boys in a very liberal, Montessori-type Sunday school, using the SpiritPlay curriculum. And we’re looking into a summer pre-K program to ease the separation and grow more accustomed to classroom society. And down the line, I’m looking forward to some kind of scouting troop, to follow in the footsteps of my father, who it seems has always been at home in uniform.
Example: The other night, my husband found a teachable moment. Little brother was taking away toys, so big brother hit him. Sigh. Daddy admonished big brother, “Why do you think he is taking the truck away? Because he wants attention. Give him a little hug or a tickle, and say, ‘Do you want attention?’ and play with him.” Guess what? Little brother’s response was to laugh and they both played with a sunnier disposition.
Another example that comes up all the time? We talk about what goes on in the games we play and the shows we watch, and whether we would want to behave that way in real life.
These steps don’t guarantee good behavior. They don’t guarantee I can keep complete control of my children or keep them completely safe. And there are a few social skills my husband and I are still working on for ourselves.
But I hope that these steps will give our children the building blocks for making both great friends and ethical choices all their lives, and be my little heroes.
This entry was posted on November 30, 2007 at 8:00 am and is filed under citizen, community, culture, heroes, learning, persuasion. Tagged: behavior, choices, consequences, consistent, courtesy, ethics, kids, moral, moral development, options, precautions, pride, results, rewards, rules, school, skills, social, stranger, teachable moment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.