Social and Emotional Learning
By Cynthia Thomas, School Counselor

As parents, you worry about the risks your children face and choices they will have to make. But if you have a strong relationship with your children that is built on a foundation of trust and open communication, they are more likely to tell you about their problems and gain from your advice.

If your children have confidence in themselves, they are prepared to handle situations assertively. Children who have self-management, relationship building, and problem solving skills make safe and healthy choices. As a parent, you can help strengthen these areas of your children’s lives by:

  • Helping them discover their interests and passions and encourage them to pursue their interests by providing opportunities and support
  • Taking time to have extended conversations. As often as possible, have family dinners where you can share news, discuss problems, and make plans. Research shows that children who have dinner with their families several times a week are less likely to smoke or use illegal drugs.
  • Talking about your family’s culture. This helps children feel connected to their ethnic background and their culture’s values and beliefs. Research shows that positive cultural identification can improve a child’s self esteem and protect against emotional problems.
  • Modeling and teaching social and emotional skills—skills that people use to deal with feelings and dilemmas—including empathy (knowing one’s own feelings and recognizing other’s feelings); emotional management (managing strong feelings such as anxiety, frustration, and anger before they become overwhelming); and problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution.

By listening to your children and respecting their feelings, you model and teach empathy. By giving children choices, they have opportunities to practice decision making. By talking through plans and concerns at dinner, you model problem solving.

As a parent, you have the power to influence, model, listen, and connect. By using your power in positive and thoughtful ways, you can provide a measure of protection for your children.

The goal of the ASPV school counseling program is to provide academic, career and personal/social learning opportunities that value, challenge and prepare each student for responsible participation in our changing world. Students meet with the counselors through teacher, parent, or self-referrals. If you are interested in contacting Mrs. Thomas or Ms. Langley, you can do so by clicking on their name.

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