Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The "S" Word

Socialization so·cial·i·za·tion  [soh-shuh-luh-zey-shuhn]  noun-
a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.

This is always the homeschool biggie and I would like to give you my personal take on it.

Granted, most kids enjoy playing with other kids. My kids love having play dates with other kids and they love going to the park and playing with other kids.

Do their social skills and personal identity depend on these little play dates and interaction with these other kids? Absolutely not. Do I need my kids to learn the "norms, values and behaviors" that are "appropriate" to their "social position" from other kids? Once again, no.

Do I want my kids to learn how to treat others with respect? Yes. Do I want my kids to develop healthy boundaries and skills to deal with conflicts. Yup. Do I need to rely on a classroom filled with kids their own age, everyday for 8 hours or weekly play dates with other kids to develop these skills. No way.

So having your kids hang out with other kids is fun, they enjoy it and its a nice break for us. But it is absolutely not a daily necessity.  In fact, its not a necessity at all.

What is a necessity, in my opinion, for children to develop healthy social skills, is to have healthy social skills within the family dynamics. Starting with you and your spouse.

Every close relationship needs 2 very important things: Love and Respect.

Love is giving. Giving compliments, speaking to each other nicely. Giving gifts. Love brings you close to each other.

Respect is holding back. Holding back from saying words that could hurt the other person. Holding back from doing something that can cause the other person pain.

Love is going out of your way to do things for the other person.
Respect is not doing certain things that could upset or hurt the other person.

We can apply this to our marriages, to our friendships and to our relationships with our kids. If our kids see parents who treat each other with love and respect, this will have a huge impact on the way they treat others as well as the way they will expect others to treat them.

So this is just my little take on the "Socialization" issue. "Teach" your kids these skills by emulating them. Playing with other kids other then their siblings is fun for them and for you, but don't feel bad if you only have play dates once a week or even once a month.

If you have a strong emotional foundation at home filled with love and respect, chances are your kids will turn out just fine. In fact, more then fine. Probably pretty awesome.

Have a great week!

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