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Sue Dillicar is an expert author for article directories, and Goarticles. com.  Here are two examples of articles she has written.

Read full article at GoArticles

Read full article at Goarticles.

How to Improve Your Child's Confidence and Social Skills

By Sue Dillicar

Research shows that children with good social skills make friends easier, do better at school and are more resilient to life’s blows.

Social skills are behaviours which help others feel comfortable with us and help us make friends. Social skills are arguably the most important set of abilities a person can have! People are social animals and need to be able to connect with other people. Having inadequate social skills can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression.

By teaching your children social skills such as manners and good eye contact, you are helping your child develop vital strategies for being successful in their relationships. Karen McIlveen, principal of The Grace Academy (school for developing social confidence), says that teaching your children these skills gives them confidence and boosts their self-esteem.  “When a child knows what to say and how to act in any situation, it eases their anxiety and allows them to act confidently.”

What are the Key Social Skills That Your Child Needs?

Social skills are built upon as children grow up. Your 5 year old will need a different set of social skills from your 13 year old.  A 5 year old child needs to learn how to share, take turns, and deal with frustration. Your teen, however, may need to know how to present herself confidently at interviews or deal assertively with difficult situations involving drugs.

However, there are several social skills that all kids should have mastered by the time they are teenagers.  These are:

1) The ability to relax in a social situation.  When children are nervous, their brains function in ways that make it difficult for them to maintain conversations. In addition, their body gives off nervous signals which make it hard to establish rapport with another person.  Teaching your child correct etiquette and how to make conversation will help to alleviate nervousness.

2) Good listening skills. Knowing that someone is truly hearing what you are saying makes the listener instantly more likeable.  You can teach your child to master the following things:

·         Making 'I'm listening' noises - 'Uh-huh', 'really?', 'oh yes?' etc

·         Feeding back what they've heard - "So he went to the footy game? What happened then?"

·         Referring back to others' comments later on - "You know how you were saying earlier…"

·         Physical stillness, eye contact and attentiveness while the other person is talking.

3) Showing an interest in other people. Self consciousness is a major problem in many children which can be reduced by teaching them how to focus on what other people are saying and doing.  In addition to reducing self-consciousness, it also makes the other person feel more interesting!

4) Being able to build a rapport with another person.  This just means sending a message to the other person which says "I am like you, we understand each other". While this is largely unconscious, it can be encouraged by learning how to mirror the other person's posture, speech and feeding back what was said.

5) Learning the art of small talk. Surprisingly, this is not a skill that comes naturally to every person.  Children benefit from learning how to make small talk.  If you notice that your child is awkward when conversing, give him a few topics to talk about. This will depend on their age but good topics to start with are school, mutual friends, sports and hobbies. Make a game out of practising small talk with your child.  Get grandma or a sibling involved.

6) Maintaining appropriate eye contact. This means maintaining some eye contact during conversations without staring at people. Insecure or self conscious children often avoid eye contact which, in turn, makes other people feel uncomfortable
.  The more children practise this skill, the more comfortable they will become.

(from The Secret Social Skills Ingredient by Dan Coulter)

The Importance of Manners and Social Etiquette

Manners and an understanding of modern etiquette are vital social skills for all children.  Competition for spots in colleges and good jobs is becoming tougher. Those young people whose manners are well developed and natural will stand out and have a leg up on their peers.  Knowing the proper social graces allows children to feel confident and poised. This allows them to shine in social situations, even stressful ones like interviews.

During the teen years, it is particularly hard for kids to feel sure of themselves, as they are in a confusing position of being between childhood and adulthood. As a result, teens tend to act out because they are unsure of how to behave. They need manners as social tools to navigate their way through the social situations they will encounter as they grow up. After attending a Grace Academy course on social confidence in teen girls, Toralee, 14, said that she learned a lot of important life skills, including the importance of presentation.  “The course was great! I think any teenager in 21st century life will really enjoy it and it will be of great use to them.”

Strategies for Improving Your Children’s Manners and Etiquette

Social skills like manners and etiquette must be taught and practised regularly, in order for children to become confident and self assured.

1) Model good manners and courteousness.  Children will be watching their parents to see how they behave.  If you are a bit unsure of what is still relevant today, look it up on the net or go to the library. 

2) Talk to your children about why manners are important.  Use examples to illustrate your point.  “When your friend came over yesterday and didn’t say hello to me, it hurt my feelings because I felt like he didn't notice I was even there.  That’s why it is important for you to always say hello when you go into someone’s house.” 

3) Practise good manners with your children daily.  Practise morning greetings, table manners, introducing friends and offering to help, etc.  Some manners will need to be taught through role-playing, as children may not have regular opportunities to practise them, such as how to introduce mum to a teacher.  Set aside 5 to 10 minutes every day to practise.  If your children were learning a new skill like piano playing, you would expect them to practise every day.  Social behaviours also need to be practised daily. 

4) Make use of the television. Ask your children to evaluate the behaviour of people in shows.  When you see a display of charm and effective communication, point it out.  Get your children to evaluate what made the person so likeable.  When you see children on TV behaving disrespectfully or awkwardly, ask what could have been done differently.  Are they being polite?  Is that the way a kid should talk to their parent?   Get your children to think about what they see instead of blindly accepting that behaviour as normal. 

5) Get into the habit of sitting at the table at least 3 times a week.  This allows many opportunities to practise courtesy and conversation.  Even if you eat in front of the TV, make sure your children use good manners. Consider holding regular dinner parties or other social gatherings so your children can practise their social skills and etiquette.

6) Every social situation provides a teaching opportunity.  Take a few minutes to prompt your child.  “There is a new kid over there.  How would you start a conversation with him?” Be sure to acknowledge and encourage his attempts, no matter how awkward.  The more practice your child has, the more confident he will become in his social interactions.

7) Get your teens used to shaking hands firmly, making eye contact and smiling when they meet people.  This makes a positive impression on people which will help a lot when they are applying for part time jobs.

If parents are not comfortable teaching their children these skills or just don't have the time, there are now places, like Grace Academy, that teach these valuable skills.  The 'Building Social Confidence in Teen Girls' program, for instance, is specifically designed to meet their needs.  It covers such things as modern etiquette, image and style, deportment and communication skills with an emphasis on character development and positive self-esteem. For more information, you can contact Karen on 0428162281 or email

By giving children the skills they need to feel comfortable, at ease and unselfconscious in social situations, parents are providing their children with an advantage that will last a lifetime. They will be able to face many high pressure situations such as school, job interviews, dates and college effortlessly with seamless manners and confidence.