Issue Brief – Why Becoming a Good Parent Begins in Infancy: How Relationship Skills Are Developed throughout the Life Course
Learning social skills is a cumulative, lifelong task, the consequences of which can influence subsequent generations. These skills, built on temperamental differences observable early in infancy, are manifest in all stages of life, and they can be taught and reinforced at all ages and in numerous social settings. Social skill acquisition is profoundly important in attaining personal satisfaction in relationships and achieving success in many spheres of life, including parenting.
Learning effective social skills is strongly influenced by the circumstances in which social development occurs. Professionals, who are uniquely positioned to observe and help shape relationship skills, have a special responsibility to be aware of those educational opportunities and of the context in which relationship education of parents, children and youth is occurring. Policymakers should be attentive to the profound effects of their decisions on human relations and how policies and consequent programs can affect cooperation, collaboration and trust within communities.
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