As parents, it's only natural for you to want the best for your child. This includes how well they develop social skills. Children are always growing and maturing. How your teen handles themselves from ages 13-19 will set a pattern for how they behave and treat others during their adult years.
You want your teen to grow into a mature adult who knows how to communicate. And as a parent, you have the unique opportunity to ensure your child is a kind, caring, fun person for others to be around.
Everyone goes through an awkward phase at some point in their lives. It's up to you as the parents to help your child navigate through their peer relationships successfully. These are 50 parenting tips to help your teens have fulfilling friendships and excellent social skills.
1. Start developing their social skills early
While this article is aimed at teens, if you want your child to develop good social skills, start teaching them to socialize at a young age.
2. Teach What Makes a Good Friend
Honesty, a positive attitude, respect, laughing, and having fun together are all good aspects of a friendship that you should teach your child.
3. Teach What Makes a Bad Friend
Teach your teen that bullying, swearing, saying hurtful things, being disrespectful, and only looking out for one's own interests are bad qualities in a friend.
4. Set a Good Example
One of the best parenting tips for helping your teen develop good social skills is to set a good example with your own adult friendships.
5. Find Out What They're Interested In
Get to know your teen. Find out what topics they are interested in and sign them up for classes.
6. Get them Involved in Theater
Theatre is a great way for children to learn to express themselves and embrace other's differences.
7. Send them to Camp
Sending your teen to themed camps is a fun way to get them involved in new social circles.
8. Teach Them New Things
By helping your child pursue new hobbies you'll be boosting their self-esteem as well as their social skills.
9. Encourage Questions
Your teens should feel free to ask you questions about making friends and pursuing romantic relationships. Your answers will help them grow.
10. Play Games that Promote Self-Control
Playing games that promote self control will make your child a more likable person to their peers.
11. Teach Your Child about Bullying
Nobody wants to be friends with a bully. It's important that you teach your children about the signs of bullying. Tell them not to participate in this behavior.
12. Get Your Kids Involved in the Community
Going to food drives or community events such as carnivals and bake sales is a fun way for your teen to socialize with ones from all walks of life.
13. Have them Join a Book Club
Don't let your child's love of reading prevent them from being social. Have them join a book club so they can talk to others about the books they love.
14. Encourage Your Child to Set Goals
When you encourage your teen to set social goals you encourage positive growth.
15. Explain the Positive Qualities of Being Assertive
Being assertive isn't always a bad thing. Teach your child to stand up for what they believe in.
16. Help Your Child Deal with Hurtful Comments
It may be your teen's kneejerk reaction to respond negatively or aggressively when someone hurts their feelings. By teaching them to stay calm and collected when they are upset, your teen will be more pleasant for others to communicate with.
17. Match Tones to Emotions
Play a game where you use different tones to convey a feeling. Have your child match your tone to different emotions. This will help them learn to read other people's reactions and emotions.
18. Read Books about Socializing
By having your teen read books that revolve around friendship or teamwork, you will help them develop better social skills with others.
19. Teach Your Child to Share
People don't want to socialize with someone who is greedy or selfish. Start this teaching at a young age in order for your teen to reap the benefits.
20. Role Play a Job Interview
One of the best parenting tips for helping your child develop good social skills is to host a pretend job interview with them. This will help them think of their good qualities as well as areas they need to work on.
21. Be a Good Listener
The best thing a parent can do for their child is to be a non-judgmental, listening ear to them when they need someone to talk to.
22. Observe Your Child's Social Skills
By paying attention to how your child socializes with others, you'll have a better idea of how to guide them toward a healthier social life.
23. Create Consequences
One way you can improve your child's social skills is by teaching them that actions have consequences. If your child is mean to their friend, that friend won't want to hang out with them anymore. Similarly, if your teen shows respect and knows how to have fun, their friend will love being around them.
24. Teach the Importance of Respect
Your teens social life will benefit when you teach them to respect other people's property and their feelings.
25. Encourage Your Child to Have a Summer Job
Having a job during the summer break from school will help your child socialize with a variety of different people on a daily basis. This will help them navigate all sorts of social settings in the future.
26. Have them Join a Sport
Team sports are a great way to improve your teens social circle and to encourage cooperative behavior.
27. Get Your Teen Involved in Religion
Religion and spirituality are great, when followed, because they promote kindness, love, forgiveness, and depth in your child's character.
28. Encourage Volunteer Work
From elderly ones, children, and the less fortunate, volunteer work is another fantastic avenue to help your child interact with people from different walks of life.
29. Have a Family Night
Family night is a great time for parents and teens to come together and talk openly about what's bothering them. Your child will appreciate this chance to social and have fun together with loved ones.
30. Sign them up for Art Classes
Classes are a great way for your teen to meet others who enjoy the same hobbies as they do. Art is always an excellent avenue for your child to express themselves.
31. Encourage Them to Make Dinner
By making dinner for the family or signing your teen up for a cooking class, your child will learn new skills that will help them prepare for adulthood and help them socialize.
32. Sign them Up for Music Lessons
Music, such as singing classes or learning an instrument, is another great way for your teen to learn to express themselves. These classes can open your child up to a world of social situations that will be beneficial for them.
33. Do Practice Sessions with your Teens
Practice sessions are a great way to prepare your child for any awkward circumstances that might come up at school. Topics to discuss could be peer pressure to sext, how to say no when asked to participate in drinking or illegal drugs, and what to do if they are being bullied.
34. Take Your Children to Live Events
Concerts and theatre are both great avenues for your child to be social at a large event. It also allows you to bond with your child on a different level.
35. Teach Your Child to Handle Anger Constructively
Nobody wants to be friends with someone who can't take a joke or who gets upset easily. Teach your child the importance of self-control.
36. Host Bonfires
Having a community bonfire or get-together will help your child interact with people of all different ages and get to know their neighbors better.
37. Take Educational Trips
Taking trips to educational locations such as old forts, historical museums, or third-world countries will help give your child a new appreciation for a different way of life.
38. Encourage Phone Calls
One Pew Research Center survey on teens reveals that while most teens have cellphones, not many like to actually talk on them. The study found that teens reserved phone calls for close friendships only. Fight against this awkward millennial social standing by encouraging your child to make calls and answer the home phone on a regular basis.
39. Teach Your Child to Have Empathy
Nobody wants to be friends with someone who doesn't care about their feelings. Teaching your child to have empathy will broaden their social horizons.
40. Encourage Travel
Travel broadens the mind and encourages emotional growth in children. By traveling together as a family or sending your child on school trips, you will help them see different cultures and ways of living. Not only will this expand their thinking, but it will give them something to talk about in a social setting.
41. Host a Practice Debate
If your teen is having trouble communicating or arguing with others, why not host a practice debate in your living room? Debating is great for your children because it encourages them to think for themselves and find constructive ways to express themselves to others.
42. Have a Family Game Night
You're never too old for a family game night. By playing social games such as Cranium or Awkward! you will teach your children how to express themselves socially in a host of creative ways.
43. Make Crafts Together
Whether you practice making crafts at home with your teen or sign them up for a class, making crafts in a group setting can encourage your teen to develop cooperative skills that are appealing to their peers.
44. Teach the Importance of Conflict Resolution
As a parent, it's your job to teach your child the proper way to express themselves when they are frustrated. Remind them that arguing is not about name-calling or yelling, it's about solving a problem calmly and maturely.
45. Have Your Children Order for Themselves
If possible, start the practice of having your children order for themselves at restaurants from an early age. This is very beneficial for teens and little ones, since it teaches them how to interact with people in a social setting.
46. Encourage Your Child to Write
Writing songs, poetry, novels and short stories are all wonderful ways for your teen to express themselves. Have them write practice stories or poems about a particular emotion, such as 'empathy'. This will teach your child to hone-in on that emotion. Similarly, by having them write dialogue between two characters, you'll teach them how to start conversations with others in real life.
47. Limit Electronics When They're Young
This can be started from a young age or in their teen years. Studies show that using social media can have a negative effect on your child's mental health and their ability to socialize in real life.
By limiting their access to such devices, they'll learn how to communicate their feelings in person instead of through texts or e-mail.
48. Talk about Emotions
One way to help your child have an amazing social life is to encourage them to talk about their feelings. Other teens will appreciate how in-tune your child is with their emotions and will want to spend time with your teen.
49. Don't Label
The moment your teen hears you call them 'shy' or 'withdrawn', they'll start believing that about themselves. Even if it's true, you shouldn't label them as such a thing. Instead, encourage your child to have a voice. This will promote individuality and free-thinking.
50. Give Your Child Plenty of Opportunities
Be supportive of your child's goals. Sign them up for social classes and encourage them to pursue higher education in the field of their choice. By doing so, you'll be giving them plenty of opportunities to socialize with others who share their interests.
By starting the socializing process young and setting a good example with your own behavior, you'll be setting your child up for a successful social life in their teen years. Continue to encourage positive behavior, pursue your child's hobbies, and to get them involved with school activities.
If you follow these parenting tips, you will help your teen develop excellent communication and cooperation skills and teach them to respect others.