Being aware of the signs of a socially competent child is a good way of assessing whether or not the child is developing appropriate social skills. While no child will express every positive social attribute all the time, observation should show a competence for these skills most of the time. A lack of social skills is a sign that a child may need intervention.
Signs of a child who is individually socially competent include a generally positive attitude, an ability to function without excessive dependence on adults, and a willingness to participate in necessary programs such as school or family functions. These children are able to handle criticism, and show empathy and a sense of humor. Even children as young as preschool age should have at least one or two close friends that they genuinely care about.
Social Skills Assessment
Socially competent children have acquired a set of social skills that help them function. They know how to approach other children with a positive attitude. They can express their own wishes and needs. They are able to cope with others' negativity and express their own frustrations appropriately. They are not easily intimidated by other children. They are good sports, with an ability to take turns, lose gracefully, and gain access to already established groups.
Peer Relationships Assessment
The level of social competence is apparent in the way children interact with peers. A child who has developed good social attributes is usually accepted, rather than rejected, by other children. Her peers usually do not fear or avoid her. Other children consider her their friend and invite her to play or work with them.
Adult Relationships Assessment
Social competence in a child is also apparent in the way he interacts with adults. A child with well-developed social attributes is not overly dependent on his parents, teachers or other adult caretakers. He responds appropriately when meeting new adults, neither showing excessive fear nor excessive friendliness. The way a child responds to adults in his environment is an indication of his social skills in general.
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