In my quest to figure out what next I could write about for our Seuss-A-Palooza, I came across the Dr. Seuss book, The Big Brag, in my boys’ room. It tells the story of a rabbit and a bear who spend all their time arguing and bragging about who is better. We don’t hear anything about other characters besides a worm. And really are we surprised? The rabbit and the bear don’t sound like characters I want to be around or have as friends.
I’ll admit my 7-year-old son can be very much like the rabbit or the bear. Somehow little children think if they talk about how great they are this will help them win friends. As parents we know it doesn’t work that way. To help my son, I went in search of advice for how he could be a better friend and less of a bragger like the rabbit and the bear.
I found Jean Tracey’s article on How to Raise Kids With Social Skills – 3 Easy Parenting Tips. I wanted to share the highlights with you.
How to Raise Kids With Social Skills – 3 Easy Parenting Tips
First Parenting Tip – Teach your child to brag about his friend.
Don’t we all like to hear someone say good things about us? Kids are the same way. I know all of my boys like to make me proud and love to hear it when I am complimenting them. Sit down with your kids. Have them list their best friends at school. Now, next to each name, have your child write down 2 or 3 things they like about that friend. Practice ways your child can compliment their friends during recess, school days, and playdates. Role play with your child so they can see how good it feels to be bragged about instead of hearing someone brag about themselves.
Second Parenting Tip – Teach your child to think of fun things to do.
My oldest struggles with this one. He constantly feels like the other kids don’t want to play with him. I usually turn it back on him. I ask him questions. We talk about what is it they are playing and what is happening to make him feel excluded. I remind him that sometimes he has a tendency to be bossy and that he needs to remember that playtime is about compromising. If he wants a turn at leading or being in charge of the activity he needs to either play along with what they are doing or use activities his friends are interested in to develop a new activity. If his friends are interested in baseball and he wants to play Star Wars, perhaps they can have a baseball game of Jedis vs Stormtroopers. We need to help our kids to creatively find solutions to problems and if they are going to make friends those solutions need to involve their friends’ interest.
Third Parenting Tip – Teach Your Child to Give Suggestions Not Criticisms.
This goes back to the first point. We don’t like to be criticized any more than we want to hear someone tell us how great he is. Who wants to play a game with someone who always wins, criticizes the looser, and then brags about how great he did winning the game? I know I wouldn’t. Wouldn’t it be better then for that child who excels at something to teach others what he knows? Then, both children feel better. The teacher feels proud of himself that he taught someone how to do something. The learner feels better because he learned something new. It’s something I try to encourage in my own sons. With 3 boys, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. They will brag about their strengths and get frustrated over their weaknesses. What I try to do as a mom is role model for them how they can help each other be better. I don’t boss the struggling child around or criticize him. I will offer suggestions. I will encourage them to ask for help. And we move forward from there.
The rabbit and the bear only cared about proving how great they were and how wrong the other one was. They even alienated the worm who showed them how foolish they were. Neither of them had any friends in the story. We need to remind our kids about the rabbit and the bear. Ask them to point out what mistakes they made. How can they be better friends? From there we can begin to use Jean’s 3 steps to help our children be better friends. With that in mind, I think it’s time to go read and talk with my boys.
Enjoy the rest of your day!