[Warning - some readers might not agree with me, plus this blog post is full of bragging about my child!]
The topic of children needing other children to learn social behavior came up in our local playgroup recently. Some mothers give their toddlers into day-care centers for that reason, even if it's just for a few hours.
I'm a bit hesitant to write about this, because my daughter is still so young (almost 19 months). Still, personally, I am not worried at all about her learning social behavior.
I believe children are indeed born as social creatures who have to fit in their tribe to survive, just like Jean Liedloff said. They've got it all in them from the start!
Also, I've never seen children this young play together anyway. They rather play by themselves, sitting next to each other. CC consultant Alexsandra Burt said that children under three years (give or take) don't really need play dates.
I've never seen dd hit another child, and the only child I've ever seen her push was a girl older than her who repeatedly tried to sit on dd's lap. She bit one boy's finger when, after hitting her in the face, he put his finger in her mouth. So far, if anything, it has been self defense, and I usually see her get away from anyone using violent behavior before it starts. Even when dd must have been in a lot of pain from an eczema she had for long, she would cry often but never took it out on anyone else.
When tidying up in playgroups, dd helps put the toys away. She loves to go to other mothers and enjoys their company, too. Whenever we go out, she smiles at people so much.
She follows me everywhere around the house. As soon as I wash my hands, she waits to hand me a towel (yes, really). How nice and social is that? Whenever someone puts on shoes to leave our house, dd gets her shoes to join them.
I'm very confident that any child's social behavior is just fine (if not fantastic) from birth. There is no need to teach them anything. They learn by observing others and make up their little minds about what works and what doesn't. As Jean Liedloff said: "Learning is natural. Teaching is not."
I'd love to hear your opinion! Feel free to leave a comment.