March 16 2016

Principal’s Message Mar 16, 16

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1

School is not only a place where students come to learn academic subjects, it is also a place where students come to spend time with their friends. If you ask a child what the biggest thing to happen to them during any day was; they will most likely tell you about something that happened during a recess break with their friends.

Because schools are the place that your child socailises the most, we also have a responsibility to help them as they form friendships and overcome the difficulties that friendships sometimes have. However, parents and families also play a big role in helping a child develop the skills that children need in order to have mutually beneficial friendships.

Fortunately there are a lot of things that you can do to help your child. Whether your child has a lot of friends, or just a few very close friends, there are a set of skills that they need, and you can help them to develop these skills. To help with this, below is an article from parenting expert Michael Grose Entitled The 12 Friendship Skills Every Child Needs:

Kids can be picky about who they play and mix with. Popularity should not be confused with sociability. A number of studies in recent decades have shown that appearance, personality type and ability impact on a child’s popularity at school. Good-looking, easy-going, talented kids usually win peer popularity polls but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee they will have friends.

Those children and young people who develop strong friendships have a definite set of skills that help make them easy to like, easy to relate to and easy to play with.

Here are twelve essential skills that children have identified as being important for making and keeping friends:

1. Ability to share possessions and space
2. Keeping confidences and secrets
3. Offering to help
4. Accepting other’s mistakes
5. Being positive and enthusiastic
6. Starting a conversation
7. Winning and losing well
8. Listening to others
9. Starting and maintaining a conversation
10. Ignoring someone who is annoying you
11. Cooperating with others
12. Giving and receiving compliments

Friendships skills are generally developmental. That is, kids grow into these skills when given exposure to different situations and with adult help. In past generations ‘exposure to different situations’ meant opportunities to play with each other, with siblings and with older and younger friends. They were reminded by parents about how they should act around others. They were also ‘taught’ from a very young age.

Arrested development
The NEW CHILD grows up with fewer siblings, fewer opportunities for unstructured play and less freedom to explore friendships than children of even ten years ago. A parenting style that promotes a high sense of individual entitlement rather than the notion of fitting in appears to be popular at the moment. These factors can lead to delayed or arrested development in these essential friendship skills, resulting in very unhappy, self-centred children.

Here are some ideas if you think your child experiences developmental delay in any of these essential skills or just needs some help to acquire them:
1. Encourage or insist that kids play and work with each other: Allowing kids the freedom to be kids is part of the message here but parents have to be cunning with the NEW CHILD and construct situations where kids have to get on with each other. For some kids “Go outside and play” is a good place to start!!
2. Play with your kids: Interact with your kids through games and other means so you can help kids learn directly from you how to get on with others.
3. Talk about these skills: If you notice your kids need to develop some of these skills then talk about them, point out when they show them and give them some implementation ideas.

Kids are quite egocentric and need to develop a sense of ‘other’ so they can successfully negotiate the many social situations that they find themselves in. As parents we often focus on the development of children’s academic skills and can quite easily neglect the development of these vitally important social skills, which contribute so much to children’s happiness and well-being.