It’s easy to get trapped in the wonderful world of social media and new technology, but what exactly is this doing to your children’s real life social skills?
Unfortunately, more and more teenagers and tweens are struggling to form relationships with others. It can influence the whole family if your child has no friends, so being aware of how your children socialise with their peers is a major step towards helping your son or daughter form new friendships.
Below are five tips on how to help your child make friends at secondary school and further afield:
- Boost Their Confidence
- Give a Compliment
- A Healthy Balance Between Technology and Real Life
- Extend an Invitation to Friends
- Encourage a New Hobby or Social Club
Boost Their Confidence
Pre-teens and young adolescents often feel self-conscious. It’s important to be someone who boosts their confidence by praising them when they do something good, as well as providing constructive criticism when needed. Include your son or daughter in decision making processes when you can, so they understand that their opinion is valued even when the outcome doesn’t go their way. This gives your child the ability to share thoughts freely and confidently in school and social environments.
Give a Compliment
Conversation starters can always be a little awkward, especially when surrounded by so many different personalities. Starting a conversation with a basic compliment such as “I like your trainers” can start a dialogue between two children. It’s important for your child to know that it’s good to confidently praise someone; they may find they have more in common than just shoes!
Maintain a Balance Between Technology and Real Life
As technology has evolved to be our new best friend, it has also blocked out basic socialising skills needed in real life. Talking to your son or daughter more is a great starting point to encourage them to learn how to make friends. Bring in rules that ban mobile phones at the dinner table and exercise the use of regular conversation as a good way to get them to open up. Getting them active outdoors may provide an opportunity for you to suss out if they have any open-air interests they want to explore. Maintaining a healthy balance between the use of social media and real life is key to helping children make friends.
Extend an Invitation to Friends
When your child makes a new friend, it’s always helpful to extend an invitation to your home, or on an outing so the two can continue to bond. You may find that inviting the parent of the new-found friend can help dodge the problem of shyness and bring both children out of their shell. Making this move can really help a relationship flourish, especially if your child has no friends and isn’t sure how to act. Help turn an acquaintance into a friend and nudge your son or daughter in the right direction.
Encourage a New Hobby or Social Club
It’s great to encourage your child to get out and try new things and supporting social activities is a good start in helping children make friends. Being in a neutral setting lets children acknowledge common interests with peers outside of the classroom and allows your child to master new skills, which is always rewarding. Social clubs are a great place for your child to be social and get active, rather than being at home all evening glued to the next must-see reality show!
The Army Cadets offer amazing activities for children from ages 12 and up. With children from all walks of life, there are plenty of opportunities for your child to make new friends. If they’re struggling to break into a friendship group at school, the ACF can help introduce your child to new friendship groups outside of their school environment. Encourage your child to explore a new interest and bond with fellow cadets. We offer a variety of activities for your child to get stuck into, such as fieldcraft, mountain biking, kayaking and abseiling. Not only will they benefit from building confidence, gaining new skills and connecting with new people, they’ll have lots of fun doing so.