Measures which promote healthy sexual development – part 2

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2. Social and emotional competence

Education in social and emotional competency is the second component of the universal prevention of harmful sexual behaviour. In the core curriculum of the Knowledge Promotion Reform 20, social learning and development is described in Section 2.1:

“Being able to understand what others think, feel and experience is the basis for achieving empathy and friendship between pupils (…). Everyone shall learn to cooperate, work with others and develop abilities within co-determination and co-responsibility” (Udir.no)

Several programs have been developed for schools aiming to teach their pupils social and emotional skills. The programs used in prevention contain mostly the same topics and areas of competence (see Useful resources). Observational learning and reinforcing desired behaviour are central principles, based around the idea that changes in children’s behaviour happen through changes in the behaviour of significant adults. The teacher becomes an important role model in how to behave properly in a classroom, by themselves being a good example of such behaviour.

Social competence and social skills are important for children and young people’s developing relations with both peers and adults

Veileder Udir, p. 10

Different strategies

Education in social and emotional competency can be based on different strategies:
Strategies Measures
BEHAVIOURAL SUPPORT STRATEGIES
  • Give praise, positive attention
  • Guidance, descriptive comments
  • Co-regulation
COGNITION-ORIENTED STRATEGIES
  • Discuss different kinds of coping strategies (e.g. similarities between thoughts, emotions and behaviour, problem solving skills)
  • Conversing, observational learning
  • Empathy (e.g. showing you are compassionate toward others, giving compliments)
  • Self-control (e.g. learning about emotions and regulation)
SOCIAL SKILLS
  • Cooperation (e.g. friendship skills, sharing, helping others, following rules and instructions)
  • Self-assertion (e.g. introducing oneself, taking the initiative, resisting pressure)
  • Responsibility (e.g. keeping agreements, turning down unreasonable suggestions from others)
  • Tell someone when experiencing something difficult, unreasonable or uncomfortable