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Old 01-20-2020, 01:15 PM
Location: Cypress, CA
385 posts, read 1,175,710 times
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My kids 3, and 7 year old are shy, tend to avoid eye contact and not good in social situations. Do you know if there are programs out there that teaches kids with social skills? My 7 year old daughter is in GATE program, extremely good in math but I realize that Emotional Intelligence is much more important for her overall happiness and career success. Weak Emotional Intelligence is also something that I struggle with even though I am very successful in my engineering career.

I am current reading a few emotional intelligence books and trying to help mainly my 7 year old with a few activities:
* Asking my 7 year old to describe and write down her feelings each day
* Learn new words to describe feelings other than happy and sad, color images of facial expression and body language of various feelings. This came from emotional intelligence books for kids
* Set up more playdates, at least once a week so she can practice social skills
* Thinking about enrolling her into girl scout

What other activities or training program do you recommend?

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Old 01-20-2020, 03:46 PM
Location: on the wind
9,138 posts, read 4,012,837 times
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You might get useful suggestions posting this in the Parenting subforum. Have you discussed your concerns with her school?
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Old 01-20-2020, 04:40 PM
1,868 posts, read 556,838 times
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When you go out, can you encourage your 7-year-old (the 3-year-old will be too young for this yet) to speak to people if needed and appropriate? That is, if you need to ask a store employee where the pickles are, can you have her ask? If you're ordering at a restaurant, can she order for herself?

The idea being that she will get used to talking to strangers and people in public-- which, oddly, can be difficult for really shy people but gets easier with practice and "normalization." And many people will be receptive to this.

Obviously, as I said, this is not always appropriate-- she needs to be able to articulate herself clearly and in a timely manner (I remember my high school days at McDonald's when someone would be trying to get their small child to tell me what they wanted, while the kid hems and haws and pauses shyly and I know everyone behind them is preparing their tirade to level at me about the slow service, or trying to understand what a barely-verbal child is lisping at me, without seeming rude in having to say "what??" several times) and of course it should be an easy/appropriate request ("We were wondering where are the 3.7mm allen wrenches with the long bent handle made specifically for torquing a flux capacitor of the Brownian style manufactured in the 80s" or "excuse me but are your Playboys in the regular magazine section or a special one?" probably aren't the best to choose, lol).

As she/they gets older, this can also grow into things like calling stores to find out what time they close, etc.

You might also ask other people you know--friends, relatives, etc.-- to engage her in conversation. This will help her practice polite conversation with others-- small talk, asking other people about themselves and acting interested in them, etc.

Also force small social niceties that a shy kid may be inclined to skip because either they just don't think of it, or they are shy and they think it's a thing small enough to ignore-- giving full answers to questions*, remembering to say hello to people before launching into a request**, greeting people when they see them***, etc. They're small simple things, things many people don't think too much about (and hence may not think a person needs to be told), and they're things that a shy person might not mind the lack of, but other people do.

*I have a friend who once pointed this out to a young stepson. "If someone asks you a question, you can't answer with a sullen one-word answer. If they ask how you are, don't just say 'fine;' if they ask what you did today, it's not just 'homework,' etc."

**It's a pet peeve for a lot of people. Someone walks up to your desk: "Do we have any more pens?" Instead of, "Good morning, Alice, how are you? Do you know if we're out of pens?" Sometimes a person is just feeling singleminded and doesn't think, but it's nice to get oneself into the habit so one is less likely to forget.

***I had a coworker who was somewhat flabbergasted by people who didn't do this-- "I was always taught that when you enter a room, you greet everyone there"-- and thought it weird if she'd pass someone and they didn't say hello, and while I and many don't think it's *always* required, depending on the circumstances and the area you live in, there are many situations where it's considered a social norm to say hello to someone as you pass them or come into a room they're in or whatever.

Much of this will not come naturally to shy people, and the kids may ask why they need to do it. While I am all about a person being able to be who they want to be, there are times for the sake of social interaction when one simply has to do what's considered polite, even if it makes them uncomfortable or they think it's silly or unnecessary, and you can explain this to them. "Sometimes living with other people, and being polite, requires us to do certain things, maybe even things we don't want to do, or people will see us as rude and perhaps won't want to talk to us or will think we don't want to talk to them."
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Old 01-24-2020, 12:16 PM
121 posts, read 14,211 times
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There is no bog things or planned things to inculcate social skills in children. Just add small tasks when you go out for your kids to perform. Give them confidence. Ask them to talk to others or reply for you or just get a small task done for you. Like asking the way or getting food from restaurant counter (from self serving). The more you give them confidence the more they get social awareness.
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:08 PM
Location: SoCal
15,980 posts, read 7,600,180 times
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One of my daughters was really shy, and very polite. I always worried about her, but not much I can do about it. Fast forward, she went to a very social college, joined a sorority and blossomed. I think she always had some sort of emotional intelligent, she was aware of people’s feeling early on, but she was just very shy. Didn’t ask guys to dance on her first dance, unlike the other kid. But I did sign up for a lot of activities for her because she was naturally bookish, still loves books today. All I can say is gives it time. Today she has her own business, sat in front of the wife of Disney CEO and had to sell her business. Lots of poise today and very sociable. She’s much happier in person. I think that’s maybe a goal as a parent.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:06 PM
346 posts, read 171,546 times
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Everyone needs to practice to be social and be emotional intelligent. My kid used to be very timid. I enrolled her in team sports (soccer/basketball) at 5 years old, and she has learned to be more social and definitely more emotionally intelligent. I also took her with me almost every social activities at a very young age (go out to nice restaurants, ball games, festivals, musicals, Disney on Ice, travelling to different countries). She can observe how people interact.

I came from a big and close-knit family so I was naturally very out-going. It's the practices to interact with kids their own ages and the frequency of the interactions that help with their social skills.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:08 PM
5,757 posts, read 6,978,458 times
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Not saying this is the case, but have you explored the possibility of Autism? Avoiding eye contact is a hallmark symptom. Again, I'm not saying that is what's going on, I'm just putting it out there to look in to. Just Google the symptoms. Not every teacher, doctor, or even parent catches on to it. I know someone who was recently diagnosed at age 49. He's also a very successful executive, so it doesn't predict success or intelligence. I have heard that even Bill Gates is on the Autism spectrum. But when my friend got the diagnosis, from a marriage counselor he and his wife were seeing, it explained a lot of tendencies he had. Technically he falls into what used to be called Asperger's, but that term is no longer used; it's all rolled into ASD now.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:46 PM
Location: Southwest Washington State
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Your idea about Girl Scouts is a good one. And if she has a school friend, you could take them both to a movie sometime, and out for a burger afterwards.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:15 PM
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For her, girl scouts, 4-H, any after school activities with other kids, best if they are from her school. For you and your spouse, get involved socially with the other parents at her school. PTO, volunteer at the school. If you're friendly with the other parents, she will get a chance to be friendly with their kids.
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Old Today, 05:16 AM
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I was not taught social skills from my family because they really did not have the ones I needed outside of family relationships. Everything I have learned has been through watching others, reading, and inferring, so it is possible I have it all wrong.

The single best lesson I have focused on with my daughter to improve her social intelligence is to know how to carry a conversation and know how to end one. We call it linking to another person's words but in its most basic form, it is called good listening skills. If there are directions in the conversation, everyone must follow them. We call this "linking behavior to words."

When people are being listened to, we call it a 'connection.'
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