top of page

Building Social Skills: A Guide to Helping Our Children Foster Positive Intent

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Fostering positive intent is something that can really assist kids in the development of healthy relationships with their friends and classmates.

Positive intent means entering social situations with a mindset that leans towards positivity rather than negativity. It involves perceiving others' thoughts, words, and actions in a positive light. Developing these social skills is imperative to building healthy and lasting relationships.

Let's consider an example: a child draws a picture for a friend who forgets to take it home. Without positive intent, the child might assume their friend didn't want the picture. But with a positive outlook, they might think their friend simply forgot it. This shift in perspective significantly impacts social interactions and relationships.

Teaching kids to default to positive intent is so valuable but it's not what most of our brains do naturally. Here are a few strategies to help shift kids brains to a positive intent outlook:

  1. Offer Alternatives: when a child perceives a situation negatively, gently present alternative positive perspectives. For instance, if they feel a friend doesn't like their gift, ask if maybe their friend forgot it instead.

  2. Address Concerns: teenagers especially, often worry that the other person does in fact have negative intentions. For example, "They didn't text back because they don't like me." Acknowledge this possibility but emphasise the benefits of approaching situations positively. If the person actually did have a negative intent what have you lost? Nothing! If they did just forget to reply to your message then you have strengthened a relationship.

  3. Model Positive Thinking: as parents, modeling positive intent in your own social interactions can be powerful. Verbalise your positive interpretations of situations to show your child how to frame things positively. This might take some practise! It's a skill the team have been having fun practising at Talk Together.

Encouraging children to adopt a positive intent by default opens doors to positive social connections, solid friendships and increased self esteem. It doesn't mean ignoring potential negatives but rather approaching situations with an open and optimistic mindset. We love the phrase "positive intent until proven otherwise" at Talk Together as opposed to assuming the worst first.

Learn more about what we offer in our social skills groups here.

59 views0 comments


bottom of page