How To Help Your Teens Make Friends

Tallahassee Parents with Teenagers,

Does your teenager have a group of friends they hang out with? Are they able to “fit in” or feel part of social get togethers?

Being a parent of a teenager is no easy task either. You want to give them their space, however they often need your help more now than ever.

Kids need more guidance in their middle and high school years than they do in their elementary years. Unfortunately, it seems guidance is given in the wrong order.

Here are some quick tips and ideas to help your teenagers fit in.

JOIN A CLUB: Finding like minded people or kids with the same interests can be a challenge. Joining clubs can be an easy way to find like minded people and get conversations started.

LEARN THE ART OF SMALL TALK: Being a good listener and starting conversations does not come natural to most. Knowing there is more communicating by texts and abbreviations does not help matters any. People love to talk about themselves. Teach your teen to be a good listener, ask questions about what others are discussing and suddenly they will be part of the group without even realizing it.

SEEK ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL: If you teen limits their social circle to just school, they are limiting their social reach. Groups and clubs outside of school are just as important when trying to make new friends. In school, teenagers let themselves get peer pressured into acting “cool” trying to fit in themselves. You child might find a lot of their peers act differently in school than in an outside environment.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY: Although teenagers might not admit it or act like it; spending time with family is important too. Make sure the time you do spend together is special. If the only time you really spend together is doing chores or holidays, most likely your teenager is only engaged because they are required to and will not value this as quality time. One on one time is equally important.

PLAY DATES: Setting up get togethers are not just for young ones. Don’t call them play dates, your teenager will give you a nasty look. Set-up fun activities for your child to invite people too. Your job is to chaperone and then stay out of the way. Find activities that your child’s peers like to do. It could be as simple as a group dinner and movie, a get together at an Escape Room, sporting event or concert.

MEET NEW PARENTS: Become friends with parents who have kids the same age as yourself. Once parents become friends, it can be easier to introduce your children and schedule get togethers.

Last, remember to be patient. If you give your child a hard time about making friends or are too pushy…they will only push back and want to rebel away from you. Take your time and make these subtle changes. You will see over time your teen’s social life become more satisfying.

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