How to Help a Socially Awkward Teen

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If your teen is more comfortable with a book than a group of friends, you might fear that he's socially awkward around his peers. Whether shy, unpracticed or simply a loner, socially awkward teens can be ostracized for their lack of social graces. Help your teen feel more comfortable in social settings by helping him learn to interact with others, make friends and pursue interests outside your home.

  • Encourage your teen to associate with others outside of school. Community sports, church groups and teen get-togethers can help your teen shed the awkward persona that he uses in school -- especially when the groups align with his interests. This helps your teen understand that social opportunities outside of school can help him come out of his social shell.

  • Encourage your teen to start a blog or online journal of some type. A study published in a 2011 issue of the journal "Psychological Services" found that socially awkward teens who kept a blog and actively participated in online communities experienced increased self-esteem, more social opportunities and other emotional benefits from the exercise. It seems as though an online support can help awkward teens in their personal life.

  • Practice social interactions together to give your teen the skills he needs when with his peers. Role-playing is a way to prepare your teen for interacting with others, according to an article at the Center for Development and Learning website. Practice establishing eye contact, initiating a conversation and answering questions so you teen feels more comfortable flexing his social muscles.

  • Respect your teen's boundaries and abilities. You can force an introvert to become more socially comfortable, so it's important that you let your teen know that you appreciate his personality, suggests the University of Michigan Health System. If your teen isn't ready to start interacting with others or flying solo in social settings, it's OK to let him take a break and enjoy his own interests until he's ready to try again.

  • Schedule an appointment with your family doctor if your teen's social awkwardness seriously affects his quality of life. What might be seen as awkwardness can be a disorder such as Asperger's syndrome. Your family doctor can refer you to a mental health professional who can evaluate your teen and suggest possible treatments and interventions that can help your teen cope.

References

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