Making friends isn't easy for every teenager. Whether a teen is new to a school or neighborhood, or just shy or socially awkward, finding a way to interact with peers is important. There are various opportunities for all teens to break the ice with other kids and make friends. Focus on interests about which your teen is passionate to find a starting point. Then find resources within the community that match those interests and provide opportunities to socialize with other kids in your teen's age group.
Search for a teen-only classes outside the school environment that advance a special interest. For example, art stores and museums often hold workshops for various age groups in painting, photography, drawing or graffiti art. Small, interest-driven classes like these foster the development of teen friendships. Some colleges also offer courses for teens during the summer, bringing teenagers together who share common interests.
Encourage your teen to secure a part-time job. Not only does a part-time job instill a good work ethic and a sense of pride, but it also provides an opportunity to socialize with other teens. The job itself provides a topic of conversation and makes it easier for awkward teens to interact. Limit job hours so that your teen's work schedule doesn't interfere with academic achievement. Make sure the job has a pleasant working environment with other teenagers.
Many nonprofit and other organizations have specific teen volunteer programs, which can help foster new friendships. Especially popular during summer school breaks, teens in such programs are teamed up to complete tasks for places like animal shelters, food pantries, state parks and hospitals. By the end of the experience, teens will likely have new friends as well as excellent experience to add to their college applications and resumes.
Encourage your teen to share his skills or talents with other teens at school, church or in the community. Perhaps your teen could help others learn new computer software programs, take a group of teens hiking, or tutor a peer at math. Whatever his passion or talent, he could share it with others and become a kind of "teen-expert" among his peers.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images