Summer is a great time to focus on your child’s soft skills

| May 18, 2016 | Comments (0)

51wbEhMA5SL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_A great new book showed up in my mailbox recently. Leadership and Soft Skills for Students: Empowered to Succeed in High School, College and Beyond by Cary J. Green, PhD is a easy-to-read book which helps students understand why some of their most important skills cannot be measured on a standardized test. The book is a worthwhile read for parents and the tween/teen children in your life.

Dr. Green recently answered some questions for The Chicago Moms. His responses remind us that raising well-rounded children is an intentional act, which requires as much attention and practice as any other skill.

1.      What are some concrete steps parents can take to help their kids develop their soft skills?

As I discussed in an interview on Motherhood Moment Blog, parents first should create an awareness of the importance of soft skills.  In other words, parents should discuss with their children the benefits of developing and utilizing soft skills.

Next, parents can build into their children the expectation of developing and utilizing soft skills.  Parents commonly teach their children that they won’t always get their own way. In the context of school and the workplace, consideration of opinions other than your own is an important soft skill.  By reinforcing soft skills development early, parents can equip their children with skills that will pay benefits over their lifetime.

Further, parents should commend their children when they effectively demonstrate soft skills, and help them get back on track when they are not utilizing the skills.  For example, when children play well together, compliment them and let them know that getting along with others is important both now and in the future.

Finally, parents should equip children to develop self-confidence and solve problems on their own.  Parents can help their children formulate questions and figure things out rather than immediately jumping in with a solution or answer. As a parent I understand how hard this can be because my natural tendency is to rush in and save the day for my daughter. However, I try to remember that saving the day today does not help my daughter build skills to handle challenges tomorrow. Children who cultivate their problem solving skills and ability to withstand a little struggle now will be better equipped to handle future challenges.

2.      Why don’t schools place more emphasis on soft skills?

A simplified response often put forward is the lack of effective measurement methods for soft skills as well as the continued emphasis on standardized testing which focuses on knowledge rather than on skills (See “The Role of Education in Building Soft Skills” by Greenberg and Nilssen, 2015).

3.      With all the talk about incivility in today’s society, are parents equipped to help their children? Are their resources parents can find?

Some parents are better equipped than are others.  If a parent feels ill-equipped, the resources described below can help.  (Incidentally, usually can learn a few helpful things by reading my book!)

Teachers and school counselors are a good place to start to look for resources.  Additionally, many communities offer resources for parents. These resources often can be discovered via a quick internet search.

Other parents also can be a resource and provide insight based on their experience with their children.  Of course, children are unique and a “this worked for my child” approach may not always work with other children.

Furthermore, I highly recommend that parents visit www.HowToLearn.com.  This site has numerous resources in many dimensions of parenting, student success, and other relevant topics.  Parents also can sign up for free newsletters and can connect with leading experts.

Finally, parents can find free leadership and soft skills development resources on my website: http://leadershipandsoftskills.com/resources.php.

Leadership and Soft Skills for Students: Empowered to Succeed in High School, College and Beyond by Cary J. Green, PhD is available on Amazon.com.

Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times The Fun. Image courtesy of Dr. Cary Green.

Disclosure:  I did receive a review copy of the book. My words and opinions are my own.

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Category: Books, New Posts

About Shari: Shari is a mom, wife, marketing communications professional, gardener, Chicago Blackhawks fan, college sports fan, traveler, quilter, community volunteer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Siberian Husky owner, Girl Scout troop leader and book lover. You can find Shari blogging about life with twins at Two Times the Fun and tweeting @slcs48n1. View author profile.

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