What are some ways of helping teens make friends?

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Answered by: Susan, An Expert in the Parenting Teenagers Category
Parents may wish their teens found school work more important than friends and popularity, but usually it is quite the opposite. For most teens, nothing is more important than their social life. And it is a sad and lonely teen who has no friends. You may not have anticipated it, but helping teens make friends sometimes becomes part of a parent’s job. Fortunately, there are ways to come to the aid of a teen that doesn’t quite fit in, or hasn’t yet found a friend.

Busy Teens Make Friends

The teenager that comes straight home after school to sit in front of the television or computer screen doesn’t have the same opportunities as a more active teen to make friends. Getting them out of the house is important in helping teens make friends. Make your teen choose at least two social activities outside of school to become involved in. After school clubs or sports teams are good options, as is scouting or church youth groups. If school or church groups hold little interest, your teen should be able to find something interesting to do elsewhere in your community.

Making Friends with Teens That Need Friends

Your teen may never be in the popular group at school. But he doesn’t have to try. Remind your teen that most of the kids in his school are not members of this exclusive club. Encourage your teen to look for friends who will welcome his friendship. These potential friends are all around, but he may have not even noticed them if he’s been focused on becoming popular. Lonelier teens will be more receptive to friendship than more popular teens.

Teach Your Teen How to Make Friends

You learned how to make friends a long time ago. It may have been easier for you than your child but perhaps not. The important thing is that you know how to make friends, and this is a skill that you can pass down. Don’t be reticent to gently give hints and tips on friend-making to your teen. If you see her monopolizing the conversation with a potential friend, let her know that listening is as important as sharing in a friendship. If she is shy, remind her that everyone feels insecure at times then give her concrete strategies to overcome shyness like having a few jokes memorized, or focusing on the other person.

Helping Teens Make Friends by Having Fun

Kids who have fun together become friends naturally. As a parent, you can assist your teen in making friends by encouraging her to organize fun events. Did the weatherman predict a steamy day? Have your teen call everyone she knows to meet at the beach. Is there a new vampire movie coming out? Have her invite some potential friends to go. Let your teen use your home to organize a study group for the science exam, and then serve yummy snacks. Soon, your home will be the place to be, and your teen will have a good friend or even two.

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