Are you seeing some social skills “red flags” in your teens? Successfully helping your child navigate their teenager years is one of greatest challenges of being a parent. There are so many things to worry about. How are they doing in school? Is their social circle exerting a positive or negative influence? Are they creating good habits for adulthood? Are they growing into socially responsible people?
As a child transitions to their teenage years, he or she should have a good grasp on social skills. They should know how to communicate with others and follow unwritten social rules, such as maintaining personal boundaries and making eye contact when talking to someone.
While some teens appear to develop these important social skills naturally, others do not. If you think your teen might be struggling, listed below are red flags that may indicate your child needs additional help. Fortunately, there are professionals, including those at The Social Skills Center, who can assist your teen in building any missing social skills.
1. He/ She isolates from others.
A crucial aspect of developing as a teen is learning to deal with new emotions and thoughts. Sometimes a teen needs to be alone to process and sort through these changes. However, there may be times when a teen will isolate themselves for an extended period of time as a protection from the possible pain and rejection of their peers. This, unsurprisingly, tends to only make them feel lonelier, which can have a significant impact on their mental and emotional well-being. If you constantly find yourself encouraging, begging, or even bribing your teen to get out of the house, there may be a problem.
2. He/ She frequently needs to be reminded of how to respond appropriately.
If you find yourself constantly reminding your teen that he/ she should not blurt out inappropriate statements, share too much information, or interrupt conversations, particularly with random comments, this is a sign that there is something wrong. At this stage in their life, teens should know to carry on a conversation with an adult. They should also be able to distinguish between public and personal information. You should not have to give your teen the “how to act” spiel every time you take them out in public.
3. He/ She struggles to interact with their peers and stresses over upcoming social situations.
Research shows that teens who do not form strong, positive connections with their peers had more difficulty managing disagreements in romantic relationships as adults. Additionally, they are at a higher risk for developing substance abuse problems. If your teen becomes overly anxious at the thought of having to interact with their peers, has trouble fitting in, or is being bullied, there is certainly reason for concern.
4. He/ She can’t cope with disappointments or situations outside of their control.
Disappointment is a part of life. For teens, disappointment can come from anything, such as failing a test, not making the cheerleading squad, not getting first chair in the band, or not being accepted to their first college choice. If your teen becomes incredibly angry, lashes out at you and/or their friends, or denies they feel any disappointment, there may be a problem.
If your teen displays all or some of these “red flags”, there is help available. It’s never too late to learn and develop the social skills they’ll need throughout the rest of their life. Let the professionals at The Social Skills Center help them.