Updated: May 2, 2020
Every parent wishes to raise their children to be happy. But what do you need to be a happy person? What makes you happy? Many studies have been done, and it has been found that happiness does not come from titles, riches, or ratings like grades, but rather the relationships we have with one another. How we feel safe, understood, and loved is where happiness comes from. If that’s so, in order to raise our children to be happy, shouldn’t we focus not on their success and achievements, but rather their relationships with the people around them?
Sociability vs. temperament
There are often times when we misunderstand being talkative, confident, and bright as being sociable. And being shy is often misunderstood as being anti-social. However, these are just different temperaments that we have. Of course, depending on the different temperament an individual has, it may be of “help” or even an “challenge” to their social development. More often than those who are timid and shy, children who are outgoing and bright will get more opportunities to make relationships with other people. However, even at CALS, we often see quiet and shy students who have extremely sociable personalities. For example, when they are helping a sad friend and empathizing with them. They do not laugh out loud or shout, but rather give a warm smile to share their heart. Even though they may not share their voice in front of an entire group of friends, you can see them interacting when put in small groups of two or three, sharing and taking turns when needed. So as parents, we need to go past our child’s temperament, and watch them carefully as they interact in a group setting. Deciding if they are sociable or is a child who needs help to be social, is an important first step. Do not judge their sociability from how outgoing or bright they are at home, but be sure to speak with the child’s teacher or other care givers for an exact conclusion.
5 muscles to build good sociability
There are 5 important skills for a healthy social development. These skills, like the muscles in our body, are able to be developed through frequent use.
Independence (ability to accomplish tasks on their own), morality (ability to judge right from wrong, choosing to do the right), expressiveness (ability to express themselves), empathy (ability to understand feelings), and cooperativeness (ability to work together) are the 5 skills.It is important to exercise these five skills starting from a young age to develop healthy sociability. These skills can be practiced starting in infancy, and should be an important factor in parenting styles, always teaching and stimulating these skills. If your child is lacking in social skills, carefully determining which of these 5 skills they are lacking in and focusing on that particular area will give you a better understanding of how to help your child.
Let’s talk about other things, outside of the these 5 skills, that a parent can do to improve sociability.
Give many opportunities. Developing social skills requires a lot of experience. How much exposure a child has to different experiences with people (with the right amount of advice and teaching), will determine how they understand and control their feelings around others.
Teach that people, including themselves, are the most important.
God said that he was pleased while making this world, but was most pleased by people He created. Always show your child how precious they are by touch and words. Teaching that just like them, the people around them are also precious and thankful gifts given to us by God.
Give errands to run.
This may sound random, but children learn consideration and unconditional service through “errands” or tasks given to them. Today, there are lots of “spoiled” youth who believe they are “special” and live their lives with themselves at the center. But this world is one of helping and being there for one another. Children who were exposed to this nature of putting others before themselves from a young age, grow up to become selfless people who are willing to work with others.
Kindness has astonishing power. If the word love is somewhat abstract, try saying this: "Be kind to everyone you meet today." Kindness starts in a humble and low position, but never represents lowliness. Kindness is courtesy of all ages. Children will learn the great joy of kindness when they see their parents using kind words, looks, gestures, and thoughts. Remember that kindness to others is at the core of sociability.
Children born with good temperament and the above 5 skills, start their life with a privileged social experience. But if perhaps your child was not born with good social skills and has been struggling with it for a long time, it is important to remember we were put here as parents to be their guide and to be by them. Continually showing love and raising them to be children who carry the fragrance of Christ, always giving love to others and receiving honor in return.