Supporting Your Child’s Socio-Emotional Development

Education consultant Jennifer Miller has launched a wonderful, valuable new blog site for parents, Confident Parents, Confident Kids that I think merits the attention of anyone working in social, emotional and character development who wants a place to send parents for ideas and advice and dialogue.

As she says, “The purpose of the blog is to help parents actively support their kids’ social-emotional development. Parents can get inspired and gain simple, practical ideas for teaching children skills in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, and responsible decision making at home. Readers will be encouraged to participate and share ideas, challenges, and questions in this community of engaged parents.”

I asked Jennifer to provide some advice on two questions that are important to teachers and parents, one a “big” question and the other, one of those everyday moments that can have great significance in creating a more emotionally intelligent household.

In asking Jennifer the following question, I was hoping to provide something for teachers who want to engage parents in valuing social-emotional learning in their children.

Maurice Elias: What is the biggest challenge in getting parents to take seriously the need to attend to the social-emotional and character development of their kids, especially compared to academics?

Jennifer Miller: Attending to the development of their children’s characters feeds the soul in a way that sheer academics cannot. I think most parents realize it is the core of their role. But the responsibilities of the role, the how and what of cultivating children’s social and emotional development are sometimes confusing, often unclear. Two-plus-two in the world of mathematics always equals four but there are not black and white answers in the social and emotional world. Attending to those areas challenges the very person they are and the way that they live. It involves self-examination and reflection. It involves actively working to improve themselves as human beings — the way they treat others, the attitude and tone they set in their own homes, the way they engage in their communities, and the way they manage their relationships with their most intimate others, their partners and children. It is the hero’s journey.

For our multi-tasking, results-oriented, always on call society, stopping to think, reflect, feel, and process how they are handling emotions and the trials of the day to day is tougher than ever. But they can bet their children watch their every move and learn from them. The rewards, though small at first, slow and incremental, result in nothing short of finding a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

Read more: Edutopia


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