RSI Corporate - Licensing

Well-adjusted or only peer socialized?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Over the past fifty years what Americans believe makes a child well-adjusted has changed. Today many parents think a youngster is well-balanced if he/she interacts easily with his/her peers. Even though this type of social interaction is important, it is only part of what is necessary for a child to be happy, secure, and successful.

Children need to know they are loved and must have daily attention and socialization. Even though our society prioritizes peer socialization, it is equally important for kids to learn how to interact with people who are older and younger, of different socio-economic backgrounds, and from other cultures. It is also important that our children have open dialog with people who have different political viewpoints, interests, and careers.

Providing broad socialization does not have to be an expensive or time consuming process. Every community has people with diverse talents, passions, and interests and almost all areas have people from different cultures and of different ages. Rather than seeking safety in people who are similar, parents can reach out to those who are distinctive and include them in family events and social gatherings. This step allows their children to experience uncommon worldviews and cultural perspectives and have exposure to new career options, hobbies, and sports.

Sometimes we forget that emotional development is tied to physical well-being. To make matters more challenging, our lives are so busy that we overlook these physical necessities. Well-adjusted children need adequate sleep and exercise and need to eat well-balanced diets that include ample unrefined and minimally processed fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, and grains. There are many websites that include recipes for quick, healthy options and fast food restaurants that provide fresh, wholesome choices.

We have less experience monitoring how our children are progressing beyond peer to peer socialization. As a result, it will likely take a conscious effort to make sure development is on schedule. Observation is often an effective tool. Do our kids actively engage adults in meaningful dialog in a broad range of subjects? How do they respond when someone broaches a topic which is new to them? Are they able to diplomatically disagree? Do they take the opinions of adults at face value or are they able to listen and form their own opinions? Have they developed new sports, art, or community interests?

Once a parent starts monitoring a broader range of emotional and physical components, they will have a good idea if their child is well-adjusted.

Social and emotional learning appears to provide benefits that last

Ed Source – Jane Meredith Adams

“A new review of studies from around the world found that students who were taught positive social skills at school reported higher levels of those skills months and even years afterward, compared to their peers who were not taught those skills. The long-term benefits of social and emotional learning appeared regardless of the students’ economic or racial background or the rural, suburban or city location of the school, according to the meta-analysis published this month in the journal Child Development. Social and emotional learning is an organized approach to teaching students personal skills, including how to identify emotions, empathize with others and resolve conflicts.”(more)

As social and emotional learning expands, educators fear the ‘fizzle’

Ed Source – Jane Meredith Adams

“Oakland Unified is one of hundreds of school districts in California that have adopted social skill-building in an effort to move from zero-tolerance discipline and drill-and-kill curriculum toward a more nuanced approach to the behavioral and academic needs of students. Oakland Unified has boiled down the concept to three signature teacher practices, most of them familiar to accomplished teachers: a warm welcome at the start of the day, perhaps with a morning circle depending on the age of the students; “engaging” teaching, such as encouraging students to pipe up with their opinions while learning how to listen to the opinions of others; closing out the school day on an optimistic note by asking students to take a moment to consider what they’ve learned or someone they’ve helped today.”(more)

For every $1 spent on SEL, there’s an $11 return

Education Dive – Autumn A. Arnett

“Successful SEL plans reflect appropriate understanding of child psychological development, include families, and are culturally and linguistically sensitive, the researchers say, and there is an equal measure of success for students across demographic groups.”(more)

Teacher training programs urged to increase focus on social-emotional skills

Ed Source – Jane Meredith Adams

“Teachers-in-training need more instruction on how to develop their own and their students’ social and emotional skills, including the ability to reflect on interactions, empathize with others and calm themselves, according to a report released Thursday by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, an advocacy and research group based in Chicago. While teacher preparation programs include child development classes, the coursework typically provides no guidance on how teachers can enhance the maturity of their students, according to the report, which surveyed a sample of teacher training programs across the country.”(more)

Schools to take on ’emotional learning’

The San Diego Tribune – Maureen Magee

“Situated in the heart of City Heights, Cherokee Point implemented social and emotional learning curriculum years ago when it became a “trauma-informed” school. The concept was born out efforts to help students who would show up to class often overcome by the effects of poverty, crime, abuse, language barriers and stress. Now social and emotional learning has emerged as a national movement, driven by attempts to address bullying, improve school climate, help students make connections with adults, and boost academic achievement. The California Department of Education this month appointed a team of educators to develop grade-by-grade social and emotional learning guidelines for schools throughout the state.”(more)