Navigating the social world of adolescence can be tricky, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming. Listed below are tips on how you as a parent can help your child form strong friendships even during the turbulent teen years.
Define what a good friend is. Have a discussion with your child about the characteristics of a good friend. Having even just one good friend is healthier than trying to be popular.
Enjoy a one-on-one social outing. Encourage your child to ask a friend with similar interests to an activity. Going as a pair to mini-golf, a movie, or for ice cream is a good way for them to focus on just each other, where in a group setting or even a group of three, someone has the potential to be left out.
Be a good listener. Teach your child how to show interest in others by asking questions. Practice this with them. Make sure they don’t talk about themselves too much. They should be confident, but not boastful. Good listeners make good friends.
Share! Help adolescents understand that it is okay for kids to have more than one friend. If they are focused too much on one person, they can appear clingy or needy, which pushes others away.
Look beyond the walls of your school. Help your child develop friendships outside of school. Sometimes, during the turbulent middle school years, school relationships can be difficult. Friendships made outside of school can help your child feel more secure during the difficult patches with their friends at school.
Mind your P’s and Q’s. Teach children the basic social skills of please, thank you, sharing, not spreading gossip, being positive, and smiling. You will be amazed at just how far these small gestures will get your child.
Want to learn more about how Wichita Collegiate supports middle school students? Schedule a tour today and meet our student support team.