Helping Teens Navigate Social Challenges as a Parent
When it comes to convincing your teenager that they can actually learn something from you, you have your work cut out for you. Most teens are convinced that we were raised some time closer to the stone age than anytime in the past century. Still, it is our job as parents to give our teens certain life skills. Short of that, we need to make sure they learn social experience and that often gets overlooked. Here are some tips on helping your teen prepare for the social challenges ahead:
Teach them to find value in everyone
Teens are going to take their cue from you on this one. If you look at the bad side of others all the time, so will they. Instead, show them that everyone has value and that all can contribute something. This will help your teen to value others and get the same in return. A teen that shows a great attitude like that will have more quality friends than they can possibly keep up with.
Teach them how to recognize when they are wearing the cape
One horrible habit that teens often find themselves in is wearing the Superman cape…that is, they are trying to fix all the problems around them rather than focusing on their own. Help them to understand that helping others is wonderful, but dealing with other peoples’ problems on top of your own will drive you crazy. Help where you can, but let other people solve their own drama.
Speaking of drama, teach them to ignore it
Drama is just as pervasive and dangerous in school as it is everywhere else. You have to teach your kids to know the difference. When they involve themselves in other people’s business, there is a good chance that they are involved in drama. Explain to them that they need to leave that alone and instead focus on how they can bring people closer. Be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Teach them to seek out the meek and ignored
It is hard to do when you are in school because you might be ostracized, but it is a life skill that will certainly pay off in the long run. Find the student at school with no friends and give them a friend. You will come out of it with a social understanding that others will still be chasing after high school.
Talk about the future and how their social life impacts it
Kids today rarely have a good handle on tomorrow. That is, they rarely look ahead when they make social decisions. Try to get your teen to look ahead when they make decisions about who their friends are, who deserves their time and who they should support. This life skill is something that is rare, but will help them a great deal when they begin working for a living. It is a skill well worth investing in as a parent.