Your child’s social development depends on your family dynamics, his individual personality and several other variables, but his experiences at school are likely some of the most influential to his socialization. If he attends a traditional school, he encounters countless peer interactions that contribute to his future social awareness. Teacher quality, school structure and his friends impact his socialization negatively or positively.
School helps your child learn skills to relate to different personality types. As he works through arguments on the playground or resolves disagreements at his lunch table, his negotiation skills, problem-solving abilities and self-control develop, reports the Scholastic website. School reinforces the concept that actions and choices have consequences. Girls in particular benefit from positive socialization experiences during pre-puberty and other transitions, the PBS Parents website states.
If your child is stressed by harmful actions of a school bully or experiences frequent conflicts, his socialization experience can deteriorate quickly. His teacher influences his socialization as well. While some encourage positive peer interactions, some discourage classroom socialization. If he is sent to the office frequently, loses recess privileges or experiences other punishments, his socialization suffers, a publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. If his school cut back on recess to increase instructional time, his opportunities for socialization might be negatively impacted even more, the Scholastic website states.
Some insist that school is not the best place for socializing a child. If your child attends a traditional school, he spends the bulk of his day with other same-age children. While there might be brief interactions with other children, he does not receive much exposure to people of all ages beyond teachers or other school personnel. Homeschooling advocates encourage interaction with diverse people of all ages in an environment similar to what he will encounter outside of school, the PBS Parents website reports. This encourages socialization without the unintended negative consequences of traditional school.
Ideally, school helps your child develop empathy and compassion for others. If he participates in his school’s extracurricular activities, he will further develop friendships and social skills beneficial throughout life, an Occupational Outlook Quarterly publication reports. School prepares him to handle a diverse workplace, especially when he is surrounded with children from different socioeconomic backgrounds or cultures. If he suffers from low-self esteem or struggles to fit in at school, he might avoid social situations in the future. He might be vulnerable to depression or other mood disorders, according to results of a study published on the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website.
- Scholastic: Recess Makes Kids Smarter
- PBS Parents: Socialization: Tackling Homeschooling’s “S” Word
- PBS Parents: Understanding and Raising Girls
- U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health: The Role of Social Skills and School Connectedness in Preadolescent Depressive Symptoms
- National Dissemination Center for Children With Disabilities: Social Skills and Academic Achievement
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: School Connectedness
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Quarterly: Extracurricular Activities
- Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images