Parents want their child to have a healthy social life. And unlike education where you can take
your child to a good school or health where you can take your child to a good hospital, social
engagement has no such obvious remedy. For the most part, social engagement must originate
from the individual in question. And that’s what makes it such a difficult problem to tackle.
However, if your teen is having social engagement issues, here a few ideas that should help.
1. Closer family ties
As the old saying says – charity begins at home. If your teen is finding it hard to engage socially,
your first bet should be the family setting itself. Family is a great training ground for many
developmental processes, including social interaction. After all, if your teen isn’t being social at
home, how can they be expected to be social out there? To this end, try to develop closer
family ties. Cultivate better interaction between your teen and their siblings, cousins, uncles,
aunts, grandparents, etc.
Another great and almost sure way to get your teen more socially engaged is through sports.
For centuries now, sports have been trusted as a way to get people to bond and work together.
Engaging in sports will give your teen a platform to develop real, close, and recurring
relationships. It will also teach them how to cope with social interactions and maintain
friendships. And that kind of a connection could be all they need to go out there and make
more friends on their own.
3. Social clubs
Sports aside, you can also instill in your teen all the lessons needed to forge strong social
engagements through social clubs. In fact, that is one of the reasons why such clubs exist.
Such clubs include drama, music, summer schools, etc. Away from normal classes, homes or the
typical real life, these extracurricular clubs present a more flexible and less-pressuring
environment for social interactions to sprout. Within these clubs, teens can meet people with
similar interests and easily create bonds along those shared interests.
4. Undertaking more outdoor activities together
You can also nudge your teen’s social engagement a few notches up by simply encouraging
more outdoor activities as a family. Take your whole family out for meals, road trips, movies at
the theater, vacations, sporting events, etc. Being indoors only encourages your teen to lead a
solitary life. The opposite applies as well. Taking your kids outdoors gives them a taste of the
social life and encourages them to indulge in it more.
5. Limiting social media indulgence
Last but not least, you can encourage your teen to be more socially engaging by discouraging
their over-indulgence in social media. Contrary to its name, social media limits the development
of children’s interpersonal and communication skills. Kids need to interact more in real life
rather than through chats and mobile applications. The less communicating your kids do via
social media, the more communication they’ll do in real life. You can start by discouraging social
media indulgence during mealtime, during family fun activities, etc.
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