Building Adolescent Social Skills
Why is it important to think about building adolescent social skills? One of the primary functions for our survival as a species has been the ability to communicate with other individuals, no matter where we live. Social skills are a critical function that we learn, bit by bit, as we grow, develop and mature. While it may come easier to certain men and women than others, the reality is that we all need a way to interact and communicate effectively.
Social skills can develop naturally, but are also a product of an adolescent’s direct environment. Children and adolescents have the distinct ability to mimic and absorb what they are exposed to, especially from a younger age. There are undoubtedly varying degrees of environmental factors that come into play; also, not everyone is born with the ability or desire to be an “A” type personality. There are numerous adolescents who are either extroverted, introverted, or different degrees of both qualities.
It starts with you, the parent or guardian, to help develop and guide your son or daughter to a place where they can not only grow in their social skills, but expand their views on the different types of personalities they will interact with throughout their life. Not everyone will be your best friend, not everyone will be easy to get along with, and not everyone will be a clear and concise communicator. The ability to acquire these social skills and maneuver through life’s social obstacles is a significant ability to focus on.
Let’s take a look at some practical ways that we can develop your adolescent’s social skills, and therefore help to improve the quality of their life: both present and the future.
Take the Time to Talk
Spending time with your child should always be a priority, but it becomes even more important when you realize that your ability to connect can open up an entire world for them. They undoubtedly will be able to receive a certain level of socialization from their interactions at school, or with friends or family, but taking the time to draw your child out can do wonders for them.
Not every child has a close friend, and even adolescents can have difficulty opening up to their friends. By establishing a close bond and encouraging communication from an early age, you can help teach them the best ways to get their thoughts across, how to communicate their thoughts clearly and be able to successfully navigate a host of topics and ideas.
Embrace Being Uncomfortable
If each of us were left to our comfort zones, we would never progress. Bruce Lee offered an excellent quote on this, stating: “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”. We only grow by facing new and unique challenges. Eventually, our body and mind adapts, and we are left in a place where we may not be growing as we should.
Each adolescent may have a different expression or belief as to what is “uncomfortable” to them; but by encouraging them to expand their horizons socially, they can step by step make progress in conquering any potential fears or lack of experience.
Some excellent examples could be:
- Making a new friend
- Learning how to interview for a job
- Social Skills Courses
Encourage a Healthy Mind
Mental or behavioral health problems are vast and varied, and can affect each adolescent differently when experiencing symptoms. Some may be at a disadvantage when it comes to social skills, especially if a psychiatric issue is an underlying problem. To help combat this, enlisting the services of a reputable mental health facility can help.
SBC Charlotte offers free and confidential evaluations to help discuss whether there is an issue that can be addressed, as well as a wealth of information at your disposal from our experienced and varied group of mental health experts. It could be a great step to take if you’re looking to help balance your adolescent’s social skills, as well as address any issues that may be of concern.
For more information, and for a free and confidential evaluation, give us a call at 855-537-2262. We understand the value and need for social skills in our patients, and are eager and able to provide you with the necessary tools for success!