6 Tips to Help Your Teen Work on Improving Their Social SkillsThe adolescent years are challenging for most people. From surging hormones to brain changes, this can be a time when teens struggle with their social skills. Below are six tips for helping your teen learn how to improve their social skills:
- Let Them Order Their Own Food: The simple act of ordering their own food at a restaurant can be an empowering action for teens. They are given space to make a decision, then effectively communicate that decision to a stranger.
- Reflective Listening: Being a good listener is a crucial skill for teens, whether they are sitting in class or going to their first job interview. You can practice reflective listening with your teen by having them listen to you, then give them time to respond to what they believe your words and body language were expressing.
- Problem Solving: Problem-solving can be difficult and sometimes tedious. Show your teen, by your example, how to be patient and persistent and how to follow a structured method, such as Woods’ model of “define the problem, think about it, plan a solution, carry out the plan, and look back”.
- Working in a Group: Team activities such as sports, music, or theater are great tools to teach teens about collaborative work. Find your teen’s interests and encourage them to join a group that includes that interest.
- Conflict Resolution: The first step in conflict resolution is helping your teen identify where and what the conflict may be. Conflict can occur within the family, with siblings and parents, with friends, and with society in general. But the one thing you need to teach your teenagers is that conflict need not be a negative experience. Conflict can lead to change, maybe even positive change.
- Time Management: Time management is a skill that will benefit your teen into adulthood. A simple practice, like teaching your teen how to manage a Google calendar or an old fashioned paper planner gives them a visual account of their time, and how that time is best spent.