Socialisation and Learning Social Graces

Socialisation and Learning Social Graces


Social Development continues throughout childhood and into adulthood. Learning what is right and wrong, what is acceptable or unacceptable, is an important part of socialisation. Of course societies and cultures vary so a child needs to lean to adapt to their own environment first.

Children begin to learn about social behaviour by first identifying with an adult or parent. They see these adults are role models to copy, so it is important that we set good examples of behaviour. As children get a little older, naturally their social circle widens as they come into contact with other children and adults. During this time they begin to encounter other behavioural influences.

Prior to the age of three years, children may copy or play alongside other children but find it difficult to grasp the concept of sharing. Young children are described as being ‘egocentric’ which means they only understand their own personal needs. All toys are seen as private possessions not to be shared. As this is a normal part of the child’s development process, it would be wrong to shout or reprimand them if they snatched a toy from another child. Many adults deem this to be naughty or bad behaviour, but this seems perfectly acceptable to the child and this is where the learning process begins. This type of co-operative social behaviour takes time to develop, so be patient.

As children learn to play together and build friendships, so we have the influence of the ‘peer group’. They see someone bite – so they try it. They hear an unacceptable word – so they repeat it. This is where socialisation begins as parents and carers introduce discipline and the differences between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.


Testing Authority


Children will naturally test us to see how far they can go and to find out their limitations. It is important when setting boundaries or making ground rules that we stick to them at all times. Children will become insecure and confused if these ground rules are constantly changed. Unfortunately, you may find that there are periods of time when you always seem to be saying no to your child, so whenever possible, offer praise for good behaviour and rewards which offer encouragement.

Consistency is so important. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Don’t give in to pestering. If you and your partner are separated, it is wise to agree rules which offer consistency for your child at all times. Ultimately, it will make life easier for everyone if you make the boundaries much clearer.

Please teach your child good manners. Unfortunately today the general consensus of opinion among teachers is that children lack manners.

There is an old proverb which says:-

‘Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.’

I believe it is so true – Anna