Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Who has better social skills, a chimpanzee or a two year old?

I got this from a Blog written by a woman named Dawn: Just had to share

I recently read an article which stated that toddlers are smarter than chimpanzees. The article went on to cite studies that claim the social learning skills of a two year old child are superior to those of an ape. The person who conducted these studies has obviously never met my children.

Let's talk a little about these five social skills that a toddler could be expected to demonstrate.

1. Saying "Please" and "Thank you" - Your toddler should always remember the magic words - please and thank you. My children are actually pretty good with their Ps and Qs. "Please, please, please can I have a piece of candy?" "Pleeeeease can I just have one more glass of water, goodnight kiss, or story?" "Thank you for letting me bring twenty-two worms in the house." And finally, "Thank you for letting me wear my Batman mask to the grocery store."
Yes, they've covered the ground on please and thank you.

2. Introductions - When introduced to an adult, your toddler should be able to say, "Nice to meet you." My toddler hasn't quite gotten to that point yet. I usually hear something more like "Hello. You look like Santa Claus", or "Hello. Why is there hair coming out of your nose?", or my personal favorite, "Hi. Are you going to have a baby soon?" Yep, that's social finesse at its finest. Shaking hands during introductions or greetings is another opportunity to teach toddlers good manners. Greeters stand at the door as we walk into church, waiting to shake our hands. My toddler usually looks at his feet and tries to hide behind me. Sometimes he'll be in an outgoing mood and perfectly willing to shake the other adult's hand, but having seen him lick his palm, wipe at his nose and cough into his hand on the way into the building, I quickly usher him along before he can pass the grossness on to some unsuspecting person.
I think that covers introductions for toddlers.

3. Sharing - It's important to teach your toddler to share. My children do an exceptional job when it comes to sharing. They are happy to share blame. To the question, "Who broke the picture frame?" all six will reply, "They did it!" while simultaneously pointing to the sibling on their left. They're also wonderful at sharing germs, bacteria and viruses. If one gets sick, they make sure they share until all six of them get sick.
More generous, giving children, you'll never meet.

4. Table Manners - Right from the start, you must show your toddler how to behave at the dinner table. I never have to worry about my children's table manners in public. Honestly. We simply never go out to eat. At home, well, let's just say that not a meal goes by where we aren't graced by some charming bodily function followed by hilarious laughter. Generally, enough food to feed a small village winds up on the floor and the phrase, "This is yucky" is uttered at least twice a week.
Perhaps they could use a little work in this department.

5. Saying you're sorry - Teaching your toddler to own up to their mistakes and offer an apology when they've wronged someone is essential.
"I'm sorry I put my sister in the clothes dryer, I'm sorry I squished Play Doh in the couch cushions, and I'm sorry for using your expensive lipstick to color on the wall," are all good examples of this lesson.
Yep, I've heard them all.

The researchers of this study go on to state that children could understand nonverbal communication, understand the intentions of others, and imitate other's solutions to problems better than chimpanzees and orangutans. I'm inclined to agree with them.

1. …could understand nonverbal communication - They understand what that look means. You know, the'Wait Until we get Home Mister' look that we give our children when they're misbehaving.

2. …could understand the intentions of others - They understand perfectly what their older brother's intentions are. "Mom, I messed up Austin's room and now he's going to kill me!"

3. …could imitate other's solutions to problem solving - "Well, he hit me first, so I hit him back."

Actually I think it's a toss up on who has better social skills, a chimpanzee or a two year old. But I'm pretty sure a chimp has never flushed a Barbie doll down the toilet, painted a television with chocolate pudding, or given their little sister a haircut with a pair of kitchen shears. Of course, I don't know too many adults who walk around doing those things either, so I guess eventually, they can be taught the finer art of social graces and in the meantime, they sure provide us with plenty of fun.

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