As parents, we often want the best for our children. Many parents push their children to strive in terms of their academic skills, but in this day and age, just having a strong background in traditional ‘hard’ skills like writing, mathematics and science alone is not enough.

With the job market becoming more competitive, how can you as a parent, ensure that your child maintains a competitive advantage? There is no doubt that he needs to complete his studies, yet just having paper qualifications alone is no longer enough. With increasingly larger emphasis being placed by employers on ‘soft’ skills, this is an oft overlooked aspect of a child’s upbringing.

What are soft skills?

These are the skills which characterise one’s relationships with others and includes how one approaches life and work. Some of the other phrases which you may be more familiar with include ‘people skills’, ‘interpersonal skills’, or ‘social skills’.

At the workplace, you can see it reflected in a person’s attitude toward work and their level of professionalism. Needless to say, young people who have these skills would stand a better chance of performing better in school and once they go out job-hunting, their chances of succeeding in the adult world are higher as well. Supportive relationships between a teenager, and their family, friends, and other caring adults can provide a foundation for developing positive soft skills to face stressful years.

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An educational contribution by Malaysian Paediatric Association.