Tips for parents: Help your child to become prosocial

By Vidhya

Help your child to become prosocial


Prosocial behaviour is a social behaviour that benefits other people as a whole. Voluntary behaviour like helping, sharing, donation, and co-operation are such actions that may be motivated by empathy and concern about the welfare of others.

Students with disabilities and students who are at the risk of academic failure generally have problems with their social skills as well.

It is important for parents to understand how to teach their children to be prosocial. Children can be successfully taught social skills, however, the challenge lies in making sure they master these skills so that they can use them appropriately.

Here are few tips for parents, to help your child become prosocial in a natural setting:

  • Try the methods of incident teaching - Incident teaching method is teaching social skills during naturally-occurring situations while encouraging their children to use learned social skills appropriately.
  • Become your child's emotional coach and use strong emotional moments to help your child become more aware of situations.
  • If you are not able to teach social skills in a natural setting, use role playing to reflect a variety of settings. You can teach children to self-monitor their use of skills across settings.
  • Teach social skills that are valued in natural settings, as real life reinforcement of social skills is essential to know if your coaching efforts are fruitful over time.

Discuss with your child the outcomes of used or failed to use social skill situations. This can be effective and can be performed by almost anyone at anytime. Help your child assess a particular social situation, select the appropriate skill and evaluate the effectiveness by answering questions about the situation.

  • Do not adhere to control and instructional presentation to help children acquire new skills. Although, this may promote learning the skill, it may work against skill generalisation. Use natural language and reinforcement skills to teach skills across settings and situations.
  • Reduce the frequency and amount of reinforcement after skills are acquired. Teach children to select and use the learnt skills in actual social situations.
  • Although, teaching prosocial skills to children can be successful, making sure these skills are used by them is important. Parents should adopt strategies to promote use of social skills across settings, situations and individuals. As emotional coaches, parents can assist children in understanding and dealing with their emotions and help children become better social problem solvers.

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