It’s true. The key indicator of a child becoming a successful happy adult is social intelligence, NOT academic intelligence, say some studies.
Not so shocking, we over focus on getting our kids through and less on helping them build the skills that lead to greater independence.
Interestingly, colleges have come back to our high schools with disappointing facts. Large number of freshmen college students quit after one year and some quit after only one semester.
The number one reason: Students are not ready socially or emotionally for managing their independence.
Don’t fret. There’s plenty you can do.
Set your parenting intention for this school year. Heres’ how.
First look at where you’ve spent your energy in the past.
- Reminded your child to do his homework?
- Helped your child with his homework?
- Hired a tutor for your child?
- Set-up a 504 Plan or IEP?
- Sent or plan to send your student to ACT & SAT prep classes?
- Freaked out when your student brings home anything less than an “A”.
- Only shown interest in your child when it has to do with school?
If you don’t do these things you may think your child is at risk of:
- Failing classes.
- Performing poorly on the ACT’s and SAT’s.
- Not graduating high school.
- Not going to college.
- Never moving out.
- Never finding a good job.
Or Have You:
- Asked your child who he plays with on the playground at recess?
- Discovered your child’s most stressful subject is “Lunch”?
- Talked to the bus driver?
- Volunteered during school hours to check out the social landscape yourself?
- Understood what your child’s reputation is with other kids?
- Fostered amicable relationships with the parents of your child’s friends?
- Tapped into your child’s interests?
- Listened with compassion and empathy, without trying to “fix it”, when your child tells you he was “left out”?
- Learned your child is always the last one picked for teams in P.E.?
- Built a good relationship with your child. One where you could support him through parent coaching and he would accept the support?
If you don’t do these things your child is at increased risk of:
- Getting bullied.
- Low self-esteem.
- Not being able self-advocate.
- Becoming defensive and argumentative.
- Becoming isolated and lonely.
- Never going to college.
- Being co-dependent.
- Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Do any of these risks and fears sound familiar? You are not alone. As parents of children with ADHD, we find ourselves, more often than not, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We work so hard trying to keep our kids organized, manage their time and help them stay focused, that we don’t recognize we’re missing a critical piece of the puzzle.
In order for our kids to take charge of their lives, the transition of life skills has to begin sooner than later. The word “transition” implies a process that occurs over time. It’s never too early to start strengthening their social muscle.
Sure, we eventually cram a course in laundry and boiling water in before sending them off to college. But what have we done to foster their social intelligence, their social independence?
The safety of home life is a perfect environment to begin flexing the social independence muscle. For many, we have managed all of our children’s academic and social responsibilities because of our own fears and the realities of their challenges.
So, how can you start strengthening your child’s social intelligence? Let your intuition and your child’s readiness, be your guide to the “what” and “when” to transition.
For younger children:
- Start helping them build self-awareness of how they feel in certain social situations.
- Coach them how to “spy” other’s social cues.
- Role-play social conversations with your child.
- Let them order their own food in a restaurant.
- Teach them how to answer the phone and take a message.
For older kids:
- Role-play entering and exiting conversations.
- Have your kid order the pizza on Friday night.
- Let your kid try discussing an issue with the teacher first. If back-up is needed, you can step in.
- Have your kid take part in his 504 Plan or IEP meeting.
- Role-play interviewing for a job.
Remember, anytime there is an exchange of information, it is a social interaction. Seize them as opportunities to build your child’s social intelligence and self-esteem.
What is your parenting intention for this school year? Share in comments or drop me an email at email@example.com.