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The need to socialize

theneedtosocialize.jpgBuild self-esteem and self-confidence. Strengthen rapport with peers. Increase empathy, sensitivity, the whole package of emotional connectedness. All these you can do by simply exposing your child to other children. Expose them early and they will be less jumpy, frightened, or angry when strangers are near. Train them well enough to recognise whom to trust and whom to be careful around and you help establish a child’s stable sense of self in relation to others. Lock the child away, limit his playtime with other children or interactions with people, and you just might be planting the seeds of paranoid behaviour and insecurity in him.

When it comes to teaching your child to relate with others, they are no different from any other warm-blooded mammal that roams the earth. They need to interact, to mingle, to develop their relational skills in order to lead healthy and emotionally satisfying lives. It is a world where one is constantly in contact with another, where one needs to be relating to others, transacting business with others, merely co-existing with other people. The sooner you start your children on the journey of discovering not only their inner traits but their abilities to reach out and communicate with others, the better you equip them to deal with what we would like to call the “real” world, aka life-on-your-own.

So savour those invites from pre-school or kindergarten, as well as those from the local government, as when our local city hall sent letters to all 5-year olds (children born in 2002) to join in the annual tree-planting on the outskirts of the city. It was an excellent opportunity to not only have our son mingle with children his age (he did run into some of his classmates from school while lugging around his shovel), but to also support the natural instinct of the child to want to nurture a life into fruition. Play time was not as fun as this when I was 5; I was busy shimmying up the neighbors’ trees instead and getting chased out of backyards.

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