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Socialization - what are your goals for your kids?

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My dh and I were talking about this tonight since we have socialization issues with both of our kids right now. I started to think about how at least in the past, I got in the trap of thinking that as long as we taught basic social graces (the pleases and thank yous) and kept them from being "socialized by the pack" (ie. the bad influences in some public schools and neighborhoods and unsocialized homeschoolers) that we were socializing our kids. But tonight I realized that it has to be more than that. We need to be actively teaching our kids how to act in society, respond to society, and even think about society.


I started to come up with some goals of what I want my kids to learn this year:


1. What are the characteristics of someone you like?


2. What standards do we measure those characteristics against? (My answer here would have definite CC content).


3. Do you have those characteristics yourself and how can you cultivate them?


4. What does it mean to be truly "manly" or truly "womanly"? (My answers would have to do with character and virtue and not externals.)


5. The give and takes of a true conversation. (Ds15 needs to learn this badly.)


6. How to be around crap without being stained by it.


7. To each have at least one public speaking opportunity even if it is making a small group presentation of some kind.


What would be some goals you would have for your kids?

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Ds7 has always talked very loudly, especially when he is excited about something. He will be yelling at someone standing right next to him. We have been working on that with him for a while. He also has a bad habit of repeating himself. I think that he is thinking faster than he speaks and he gets lost in where he was. I have been working with him to think about his complete sentence before he starts talking. I think narrations are helping with that.

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We have talked about and thought about the questions you listed quite a bit Jean. We use our everyday social interactions in a variety of situations to actively teach socialization. There are so many opportunities within everyday interactions. I try to monitor social interactions as much as I can and provide coaching.


Ds needed quite a bit of coaching one year when he was dealing with some very badly behaved kids at co-ops. Their behavior really annoyed him and he showed it, which did not help the situation. He can be extremely outspoken when he feels something wrong is happening. I have to teach him ways to handle those situations more delicately and with finesse as much as possible.


Dd is a strange one and has needed coaching at various times for being too quiet, not quiet enough, going overboard with joking to the point of being obnoxious.


Before many events I try to think ahead about what each can learn socially and how they can put their skills into practice. Then I prime them. On the way home we talk about what went well, what didn't and how we might handle situations differently in the future. I'll be coaching Dd this morning before we head to her dog's breeder so that she has some ideas of things to talk to him about and questions to ask so she can learn from him. She's also baking him something to thank him for helping us.


A few of the things we've dealt with b/c of situations in our lives--


-How to participate in a conversation without making it one sided so that it is not all about you!


-How to be friendly with relatives and acquaintances who don't share our values/lifestyle, yet not become influenced in the wrong direction. Dd can easily get swayed at times.


-How to speak your convictions without being overbearing, rude, or unkind--and when it is appropriate and when it is not.


-What is appropriate to share with others and who it is appropriate to share with.


-How to be yourself without sharing every single conviction or family belief. For example, there are certain books my Dc have decided they think are inappropriate. When a friend brings up one of those books, rather than launching into a longwinded reason for why they don't read them, they now say something like "I'm more into ______."


-How to politely decline an offer to participate in something you'd rather not.


-What is a true friend vs acquaintance, and how to decide which is which in your life. We did quite a long Bible study to go with this one.


-How to handle mean kids at co-ops.


-Dd needed to be taught what to say to a teacher who called on her if she couldn't answer the question or her mind went blank. For a while she would just sit there and begin to well up with tears b/c she felt so much pressure. Now she knows several appropriate phrases to use.


-How to introduce yourself to someone.


-How to make a new person feel comfortable at an event. We always talk about what types of conversations could be started with the person.


-How to handle kids who are rude, poorly behaved and disruptive (had to practice lots of coping mechanisms at co-ops with this one). Now that Ds is president of his 4H club and has to run the meetings, he's getting more experience (though we think the trouble makers may have dropped out).


-How to be kind and gracious to others even when they might be more successful or better at something than you are.


-How to listen and learn from others who know more than you.


Dd is now, unfortunately, also learning to handle how to deal with jealousy at 4H. Its too bad, but it's happening, so she has to learn how to deal with it. I wish the parents of the jealous kids would give them some social pointers!


I'm tired this morning, so probably not doing a good job explaining how we handle this. Basically we do a lot of coaching and try to make note of areas where they are struggling and come up with tips and better approaches for the future.


ETA: We consider all of the above in light of our Christian convictions.


Edited by shanvan
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This is kind of ironic! Hubby and I were just talking about this the other day.


It wasn't intentional, but our goals (as we're just in the process of truly considering them for the first time) already appear to be different for my son and my daughter. For my daughter, our desire is for her to be a truly "feminine" young lady, in EVERY aspect. Not just "prim and proper" in her dress, but her mannerisms, her speech, her attitude. So much of today's society tries to make our young ladies completely OPPOSITE from how God created them. We try so hard NOT to "allow" them to socialize with "the world" that we (at least in our family) lose sight of training them TO socialize in the RIGHT way. Training them to "socialize" in a way that represents Christ in all they do.


For my son, strength in meekness. Learn how NOT to bow down to peer pressure. Learn to treat a lady with respect. Learn to look a woman IN THE EYE! Learn to speak with wisdom. Learn how to deal with his frustrations in a Godly, positive way.


Neither myself nor my husband were brought up in a "good" home. Our stories would make most people's heads spin! So when we had children, to some people's standards we kind of went OVERBOARD in the "sheltering" department. As we have ALL matured (our children and us as parents), we've learned the balance between sheltering and allowing our children to be the witness God wants them to be. In order for that to happen, they do need to be trained in the "social graces." NOT to "fit in." The Bible tells us over and over we're NOT going to "fit in" in this world. But, to be able to become "all things to all men" so we can be a help to those around us.


I will definitely be following this thread as it is very timely in our family.


Happy Homeschooling :)

Edited by tammieb
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I think a lot of what you're talking about is stuff I think of as leadership goals in some ways.


For me, I want my kids, especially down the road when they become teenagers, to know how to hold onto their own values, how to speak up for themselves, to know when to say something and when to just walk away, when to ask for an adult's help... When I was teaching, there was an incident at our tiny upper school that really amazed me where a kid brought a gun (unloaded) and many kids saw it and pretty much all tried to tell him not to or to calm down (other issues going on) and thought they were doing the right thing, or at least nothing wrong, but actually never said anything to the adults. Nada. And then there were a couple of kids who heard about it and were just immediately like, what, no way, and went immediately to the teachers. And I thought - those kids weren't cowed by the group, they weren't frozen trying to figure out what to do, they got the difference between a kid having a rough day and saying something stupid and a kid really crossing a line. They were assured of themselves and what what right and wrong, you know? And these were popular, well-liked kids in that community. And that's the kind of kids I want to raise.

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I have always taught that kindness and compassion are the most beautiful attributes. Ds20 and dd12 possess these naturally and also are very generous.


We don't focus on anything you mention, really. It's not that we're shallow but that they see the exchange of conversation and live the give and take of relationships, familial as well as friends. I believe my kids know how to be a good friend by watching how I help my friends or how they help me. They watched me care for my parents. They grew to love animals after watching me save so many and nurse them back to health.


I never taught manly or womanly anything. I did teach my boys how to care for their wives, to listen to them, to do with and for them, etc. I tteach all my kids how important communication is. Ds20 and I had many, many deep conversations about all of this and he is the most wonderful young man who treats his gf with such kindness and respect. And IMO she doesn't deserve half of what he does for her. (I respect him enough not to ever say anything negative about her.).


So, my kids did learn by example.


The give and take of conversation with a parent and a teen is nothing like the give and take of a conversation they would have with others. But if your son does need help with this, give him tips or advice when you hear him with others and you have input to offer.

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