Healthy relationships are important for your teenage girl's development. A July 2002 report by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Office of Adolescent Health showed that positive, high-quality relationships can improve your daughter's marks at school, improve her mental health and are a precursor to healthy and successful adult relationships. With a little work, a shy or socially awkward teen can improve her social skills.
Role Play Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution skills are important for your teen's social development, since they can help your daughter be accepted by her peers. If your daughter shies away from conflict or gets flustered, there are professional programs that can help her. You can also help by role playing situations that involve a conflict. Role play is a positive way for your teen to try out different responses to a situation before it occurs. For example, you can role play a situation where one of her friends has been drinking and wants to drive her home or where a few of her friends don't want her to speak to another friend. Replay the scenarios until she finds a response that feel comfortable and natural.
This classic game can help your teen try on different perspectives. As she considers how to act out a word for her teammates, she has to think about what the audience will understand and how they'll be able to read it. Charades relies on reading body language, facial expressions and other social cues so it teaches her to pay attention to non-verbal clues. If you're playing with more than one teen, encourage them to talk about what worked and what didn't after each round.
Active Listening Activity
The ability to actively listen and pay attention is a great social skill to cultivate in your daughter. If you can teach your teen how to make eye contact, remain quiet and to reword and restate the speaker's point, she probably won't have a problem finding people who want to talk. To focus on active listening, you need three people: the speaker, the listener and an observer. The speaker just has to talk about something that interests her for a few minutes. The listener should sit quietly and provide cues of active listening, such as eye contact, leaning toward the speaker, etc. When the speaker's time is up, the listener should reword the speaker's points and repeat them back. The observer is a neutral party who listens to both. After the listener is done, the observer should let the other two know how they did. Let the speaker know if she stayed on topic and let the listener know if she did a good job conveying her interest and attention, along with repeating the points back. The group then switches roles and tries again.
Political Posters and Speech
If there's one thing teens don't lack, it's an opinion. Your daughter is at the age where she'll have an opinion on everything and may be sharing it in a pushy way. Since you know so much about what your daughter thinks, it's time to turn her opinions on their head. Empathy is a key social skill that lets your teen relate to others. Ask her to study a political or moral issue that she already has an opinion about and to make a poster that shows the key points -- for the other side. Instead of sharing her opinions, she should research the issue and record what other people think. She can look online, interview people or check out a pile of books and magazines from the library. Remind her that it should be a fair and balanced take on the subject from the other side's point of view. By putting herself on the other side of the issue, she can gain a new perspective, possibly helping her put herself in other people's shoes during some later debate.
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