People Skills for Teenagers

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The teenage years can be awkward and overwhelming. With all the changes and transitions from childhood to adulthood, teens can sometimes turn introverted or may lash out in frustration. Keep the path to adulthood a fairly bumpless one by facilitating your child’s relationships. By helping her navigate her friend, family and professional relationships, you can help her remain confident and in control.

Family

Although the home can be a place of comfort, it can also be a source of frustration to your teen who is constantly seeking her own independence. Make sure he is aware of his responsibilities and expectations at home, but be ready for praise when he surprises you with appropriate and caring behavior in the home. He will be able to see through patronizing behavior, so be sincere. He may seem too old for it, but your teen still needs your approval and will feel confident in his relationships and his place in the family and world when he hears your happiness over his actions. If his actions break your trust or violate your expectations, talk to him about your disappointment and follow through with consequences, if necessary, but do not humiliate your child in front of his siblings or others. He may seem tough, but he is sensitive to your view of him. Don’t tear down family relationships by fostering negativity.

Peers

Relationships at school and other places sometimes change during the teen years. Keep communication open with your child, but don’t interrogate her. She may not fully understand why she and her best friend from fifth grade are now in different social classes or cliques. Stressing the issue or reminding her about it may only embarrass her and cause her undue heartache. Get your child involved in clubs or sports she enjoys, and encourage her to look for leadership opportunities, which will foster the confidence she needs to build new or rebuild old relationships.

Co-Workers

Teaching your child how to get along with his co-workers will help him in the short term and long term. If your child is shy, encourage him to get a job that forces him to interact with customers or clients. Customer service teaches teens to think about the needs of others, which takes the pressure off themselves. Learning the dynamics of office or work relationships will help him in future jobs. Talk with him about problems he is experiencing as they come up to give him proper techniques for dealing with on-the-job issues. In adulthood, he will be able to look back on your advice and use the techniques he practiced as a teen.

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