Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents

Are Your Children on Track Socially?

Published on: September 7, 2015  

Are Your Children on Track Socially?

There are some children that are able to navigate social situations with relative ease; the ones who other kids gravitate to and who establish and maintain friendships effortlessly and with grace. If this doesn’t sound like your child at all, don’t worry. Understanding the in’s and out’s of social situations and establishing friendships, like other skills, can be learned. Besides, most are not looking for their children to win a popularity contest or anything. What most parents hope for is that their children are able to form meaningful attachments to others, can empathize and interact with others appropriately and be able to adapt to the roller coaster of changing social circumstances.


Where your school age child should be socially. Vanderbilt University has researched the social skills that preschool and school age children need to succeed in school. The researchers included survey results from 8,000 elementary school teachers and observation of children’s social skills. Researcher found that children at this age should be able to listen to others, follow a sequence of activities (routines), follow simple rules, ignore distractions, ask for help, take turns, get along with others, stay calm, be responsible for their behavior, and do nice things for others.

Where your middle and high schooler should be socially. The social skills needed for kids and teens to navigate the social complexities of middle and high school environments are a bit more sophisticated. They will need to learn to set personal goals, identify and change negative behaviors, develop assertiveness skills, be empathetic to others, learn to manage strong feelings like anger and frustration, and resolve conflicts with others peacefully.

What you can do to help.
Model Social Skills. Our children learn how to establishing meaningful relationships with others at home. Children are always watching and learning about how to manage social and other situations by watching and observing you and their siblings. Be aware of your behavior and work toward showing confidence, being honest and respectfulness in our interactions with others.

Teacher your children that relationships with others are important, help them brainstorm solutions to peer conflicts and give them the freedom to develop new relationships providing they are mindful of respecting others. It all about encouraging our children to be resilient and developing a constructive attitude as they approach social situations.

A positive and constructive attitude encourage children to take an optimistic view of themselves and others as being social. Adopting an upbeat attitude towards their changing social landscape and remaining confident in their ability to improve a social situation with effort and positive behaviors.

Give them plenty of opportunities to practice. When children are young they learn social skills from us as parents. As they mature, they begin to learn social skills by watching and interacting with their peers. So, the more chances kids have to interact with their peers the better, as long as the interactions are healthy and socially appropriate.

Kids also will learn crucial skills from simply playing with you. It’s also true that children whose parents frequently play with them have more advanced social skills and get along better with their peers.

Please contact us should you need additional support in helping your child develop meaningful relationships, 360-236-0206. We’re here to help!

With Warmest Regards,

Dave Callies, Psy.D.
Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychologist
Gyro Psychology Services
866-616-4976 (gyro)

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