By Guest Blogger Jaimi Cabrera, Director of New Business Development at Beech Acres Parenting Center

While preparing for Back to School with my daughter for the first time, as she begins Kindergarten in a few days, I have Beech Acres Parenting Center unique approach to parenting on my mind, Natural Strength Parenting™ and the specific tools of Intentional, Strength-Based and Mindful that may be helpful.

Specifically, I am thinking Strength-Based and the Character Strength of Social Intelligence(Friendship) and how important that this strength is to help our daughter form healthy relationships with the other children in her classroom.  Honestly, no matter what age your child is, this strength is important and can often be overlooked……thinking that other strengths or academic areas were more important.

Research shows that Social Intelligence is one of the early emerging strengths that can be formed during early childhood.  It is very important for parents and other adults in a child’s life to help teach them this strength.  Our children need help and support to learn how to make friends and keep friends.  Children who use their strength of Social Intelligence are friendlier and have the skills to form healthy, age-appropriate relationships.  For example, they have the skills to introduce their self to “new” friends and engage in appropriate conversations with other children on the playground or during lunchtime without prompting.   These children have good interpersonal skills and are able to notice other children who are feeling sad or scared and are able to provide a comforting smile or invite them to join them at their table at lunch or a game at recess.

The strength of Social Intelligence can help decrease the likelihood of bullying or other negative peer behaviors.  Social Intelligence can help create a positive school culture and community where all “children” are welcome and able to utilize their own strengths.  The key to instilling Social Intelligence in our children is to model the strength for them and give them opportunities to practice the strength at home and other social opportunities.

One way to help your child practice using their strength of Social Intelligence is to first give them the definition; Getting along with others, being a friend those can count on.  Then provide the opportunity for your child to practice these skills at home with you and your family is a great place to start.  When you see them using this Strength in action, spot it by saying “Hannah, thank you for being such a nice friend, and using your strength of Social Intelligence, by asking your sister to play Candy Land.”

Parenting is a journey and no one is perfect at it!  As you prepare for the transition Back to School, I invite you to practice the strength of Social Intelligence with your child……just as I will this week and throughout the year with my daughter!