What social and emotional skills do boys need?

From the early years through to adolescence, your son’s social and emotional skills and development grows in leaps and bounds. This development is vitally important in the pre-teen and teenage years and will assist him in developing positive relationships with others, improve his communication skills and grow his self-esteem and confidence.

Social skills are all the verbal and non-verbal skills we use to communicate with each other. It’s not just about what we say, but how we say it, our body language, gestures and even the way we present ourselves. We have a vast array of emotional skills, often referred to as our emotional intelligence, including our ability to regulate our emotions and the capacity to demonstrate feelings towards others, such as kindness and empathy.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning recognises five core social-emotional competencies in helping students navigate the world more effectively.

Here are five social and emotional skills boys need:

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness starts at a young age - developing your son’s sense of self-awareness helps him to discover his strengths and recognise his limitations. This helps him understand what others think of him and his behaviour with an ability to change his thoughts and mindset. Being a role model to your son by demonstrating your own self-awareness will help him to recognise and understand these connections and encourage a growth mindset.

2. Self-management

Learning to regulate his emotions, thoughts and behaviours to work towards and achieve goals is key to self-management for your son. This will help him manage stress, control impulses and motivate him to persevere with obstacles. It will also assist him in setting and monitoring his progress towards achieving his personal and academic goals. Self-confidence, resilience, patience and perceptiveness are examples of good self-management.  

3. Social awareness

Social awareness is the aspect of our emotional intelligence that allows us to understand other’s perspectives and to empathise. It is vital in helping your son form friendships and relationships, and in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of others. Parents play the greatest role in their son’s social development so modelling positive social awareness to your son will reinforce this important life skill - this includes making mistakes.  

4. Relationship skills

Engaging appropriately with others is key to building and maintaining healthy relationships. Good relationship skills will result from his ability to apply his sense of social awareness. Communicating clearly, working cooperatively with others, listening well, resolving and negotiating conflict constructively, and the ability to seek help from others are integral to developing these skills.  

5. Responsible decision-making

Making constructive choices about his behaviour shows responsible decision-making. His social interactions are based on not only his own needs or feelings, but those of others, as well as ethics and social norms. Boys need to evaluate the possible consequences of their decisions whilst considering the impact on those around them. 

Helping your son develop these socio-emotional skills will not only assist him in building better relationships, self-esteem and confidence, it will also help set him on a successful path at school, at work and in life. 

Developing social and emotional skills are crucial to mental health and wellbeing. At Christ Church Grammar School, boys learn how to apply strategies for healthy living through The Wynne Centre for Boys’ Health and Wellbeing.