The media and academics have spent a lot of time looking at the social and emotional problems of kids today. The more that kids act out based on a lack of social skills and emotional stability, the more that they become a danger to themselves, their family and their community. While many people spend a lot of time complaining about the problem, there are a lot of ways to this as a parent. One of the best ways to do it is by participating with your kids in activities that increase their social and emotional awareness and skills. Here are three ways to do this:
Reading with your children has many additional values. By reading about children who face emotional and social struggles with your children, you help to provide a good example and a discussion topic for older children. Even as adults, studies have shown that readers of literary fiction that focuses on the inner world of characters creates readers who are smarter at understanding the emotions of those around them, even in complex situations. This also gives kids the outlet of reading as a way to cope with stressful situations in later life, and this is a lifelong skill that can work wonders in difficult situations.
Family dining time allows people the time to discuss their days, and share how they dealt with different challenges. It fosters important dialogue between parents and their children, and gives them a guaranteed place where they know they can be heard without interruption. This will create a safe and expected environment where children, as they grow through different emotional phases, can feel safe and heard in their homes. Children who feel this way are more likely to go to their parents with concerns as they get older, which give them a chance to be better helped by parents and other adults that they trust.
Though outdoor enthusiasts already know this instinctively, many studies are now validating the fact that people naturally feel better when they spend prolonged periods outside. Families who regularly camp together also show tighter family bonds and better inter-relational skills. This is based on a number of things. The reduction in stimulus in nature allows us a chance to reset our minds, and do the deep thinking and emotional processing we need to put away difficult memories and emotional challenges in our thought processes, allowing us the chance to "get over" difficult situations. It also highlights the family bond in a situation where you are all experiencing something peaceful and new together. By doing this, kids are given the space to process emotions and the example to explore new situations and interact in healthy ways with their family.