Social Intelligence in Children 

Dr. Fathia Mohammad Baheshwan

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Social intelligence is the art of dealing with people around you and a set of skills that come together to make the individual able to form relationships with others, communicate with them effectively and build relationships of love, commitment and coexistence at the same time successfully.

Social intelligence in children is a feature that can be observed in their behavior and actions during their daily life, speech and interests or a talent or a special ability that helps them in their social life and motivates them towards success and excellence in their working life. Social intelligence has positive impacts on the child, both in terms of his/ her relationships with others, his/ her position and their view of him/ her, or in terms of his/ her psychological, social and emotional balance. According to Professor Nicholas Humphrey, just being smart is not enough. For example, children with autism are sometimes very intelligent. They are good at giving notes and remembering them all. Despite this, there are those who say that their social intelligence is low. As social intelligence is closely related to knowledge, it can thus be a first stage in the development of intelligence systems. Social intelligence is also an acquired trait that results from the way of education and the extent of the parents' interest in their child; it is not inherited, but comes from life experiences and situations.

Interactive social intelligence helps the child build a good network of relationships with others, whether among his peers or even in making him an attractive and a lovely personality for adults. This trait and its benefits continue with him even after he gets old, in work, family, friendships and various social relationships.

Social Intelligence is developed by encouraging and urging children to participate in various social activities, in their family, school or surrounding community. This strengthens their personality since childhood. Furthermore, it is important to practice the process of brainstorming with children, always prompt them to participate in solving their own personal problems, and assign them responsibility for some matters so that the spirit of leadership and a sense of responsibility grows in them.

It is necessary to teach children how they can express themselves and their feelings without shame and give them complete freedom of expression without fear or anxiety. As such, the parents’ task is to notice the appearance of some signs on their children, which indicate that they possess certain abilities, talents, or skills in any of the fields. This matter should not be neglected; these talents should be taken care of and developed, urging children to show their talents and be proud of them.

The family is one of the factors affecting the development of the social intelligence in children. The family is considered the most powerful institution influencing the behavior of the individual through social upbringing that oversees behavior inclination and personality formation through interaction and relationships between members of the family. Children learn social behavior through the family. The social class to which the child belongs is also an important factor in his social development as it shapes and contributes to the formation of the child's personality with which he/she will face the outside world or the larger society. The family that has a good cultural, social and moral level, the child grows better than the child who belongs to a bad family with low culture and morals.

Besides the educational and cultural level available to children, the extent of their families’ awareness of the their needs and of the appropriate educational methods for dealing with  them and for satisfying the needs of their children, the economic situation of the families contributes to the good development of children. There are also other factors influencing the development of social intelligence in children, such as the school, which provides the appropriate environment and conditions for children mental, emotional, physical and psychological development and teaches them more sound social values and standards.

Children’s friends, the way they select them, children encouragement to consolidate their relationships, maintain their friendships and ensure their continuity cannot be overlooked; all of these and other factors affect the development of social intelligence in children. Care must be taken to develop the talents or abilities of children when they appear or are discovered, through giving children the opportunity to better express their feelings, opinions, thoughts and needs and making them a priority for the family so that children could develop them. This will be reflected on the personality of the child, social presence, and hence the growth of his/her social intelligence.

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