Basics of Prosocial Behavior and Social Competence
A "basic" for learning social skills is having friends, which for children means having playmates. In order to have playmates, Children must be able to successfully enter into play with others, which may be the most "basic" part of developing social skills. The process of playing with others not only provides motivation for learning social skills, it also provides excellent practice (Lillard & Curenton, 1999). Play provides many opportunities for conflict and negotiation, which help children learn to consider the needs and feelings of others. Considering the needs and feelings of others is called perspective-taking, and is also basic to developing social skills.
Basics of Prosocial Behavior
- Successfully "entering play," which leads to
- Having friends, which leads to
- Caring how your actions affect others, which leads to
- Willingness to work at "perspective-taking," which leads to
- Prosocial behavior
Consider the Alternative
- Being unsuccessful at entering play, which leads to
- Not having friends, which leads to
- Not caring how your actions affect others, which leads to
- Unwillingness to work at "perspective-taking," which leads to
- Antisocial behavior
How to Help Children Develop Social Competence
- Coach youngsters in successful play-entry strategies.
- Encourage close friendships and caring relationships.
- Use children's disputes to help them exchange viewpoints and learn perspective-taking.
- Teach negotiation skills for conflict resolution.
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