Make sure your teenagers know how to build connections.
We teach them to walk, talk, tie their shoes, and make a bed. But here’s a parenting challenge that is a bit more ambiguous: how do you teach kids to build connections?
Studio 5 Parenting Contributor Heather Johnson shares seven ways to help your teen build connection skills.
Teaching Teens to Build Connections
Summer is a great time to work on some of the challenges that our kids are facing so that we can help them be ready when the new school year begins (and also for life!).
Summer lends itself to more down time, more opportunities to spend time and connect with our kids, usually vacations or road trips with our families, which means time to teach and explore some topics we might not feel there is time for during the year. Plus, it is a great time to work on things that could use a refresh.
Kids, especially teenagers don’t know how to have conversations and communicate. It is becoming a lost art. They face lots of challenges surrounding talking to and connecting with others and knowing how to handle interactions with others and navigating social cues.
Given they want friendship more than anything in their teenage years and they want to be accepted so badly, it is time to focus on teaching our kids some valuable skills when it comes to conversation and connecting. So they don’t push away, the exact people they say they want to be close to. Summer is a great time to work on it.
Here are some things we need to teach our kids, help our kids with when it comes to communication and conversation:
- Figure out what they need to work on!
Pay attention to how they communicate with YOU. It will give you clues as to what you can help them with. The way they communicate and navigate conversations with you, is probably the same way they react with friends.
- Teach them that every space is filled with friends.
We want them to be looking for friends…not focusing on enemies and strangers.
- Teach them how to respond.
Don’t be a “know it all”
Don’t be defensive
Don’t “match them”
- Teach them to ask questions about others.
- Teach them how to enter a conversation/group.
- Help them understand they are enough.
If our kids don’t know they are enough – that they have what it takes to contribute to a conversation – they will exaggerate or lie. Validate what they say at home, and encourage them to bring their authentic self to any and every conversation they find themselves in.