..

The Conversation

  • Written by Michael Chambers, Lecturer, School of Education (Qld), Australian Catholic University

Secondary school can be a lonely place for adolescents who don’t have a best friend or a group of trusted friends. Young people will be more skilled in the art of making genuine friends (and keeping them) if they know how to be assertive, are optimistic about life, have some basic social skills and have a relationship with a parent/carer that includes honest talk.

Friendship troubles

Secondary school, in particular the junior secondary years, coincides with a time in life when young people are pushing new social and family boundaries. The transition to secondary school is especially demanding as once dependent kids become more independent in a new schooling order of new routines, new teachers, and new friends.

Read more: How parents and teachers can identify and help young people self-medicating trauma with drugs and alcohol

Young people can be cruel and unkind to each other and to adults in this stage of life. Being bullied, teased and left out are signs of friendship troubles. Understandably, victims of bullying feel less positive about the school environment.

Be assertive, not aggressive

Being assertive can help young people in not only sticking up for themselves, but it can also communicate to others a sense of self-assuredness. An assertive way of speaking and being can make young people attractive and more popular with peers.

Assertiveness involves polite but firm talk, eye contact, and controlled behaviour. It’s not to be confused with aggression which often takes the form of a raised voice, insults, put-downs and greedy behaviour.

Adolescence can be awkward. Here's how parents can help their child make and maintain good friendships Good and assertive communication goes a long way. from www.shutterstock.com

One way adults can foster assertiveness in young people is to encourage it in the safe environment of the home. Young people can practice assertive language and behaviour when they explain to siblings that their room is not a public thoroughfare, when they defend their right to use the bathroom by themselves but in a timely way, when they argue they need quiet and time alone to complete homework.

Optimism can lead to success

Grief and tears about friendships are inevitable in the secondary school years. At some stage, your child is likely to come home either sullen, withdrawn, crying or moody. They may even experience school refusal, which is when they refuse, or are reluctant about going to school.

An adolescent who has a positive mindset is more likely to bounce back into the usual routines of friendships. When a young person has a positive mindset, they tend to see setbacks and troubles as temporary. They identify them for what they are (specific, time-related issues) rather than for what they are not (global and eternal).

Adolescence can be awkward. Here's how parents can help their child make and maintain good friendships Encouraging your child to talk about themselves positively at home can help them bounce back when things go wrong. from www.shutterstock.com

That is to say, positive kids are more likely to identify a specific and reasoned account of friendship troubles (“Sally was mean to me today because she was in a terrible mood”) rather than a global and exaggerated account (“Sally is mean, she has always hated me”).

You can foster a positive mindset in your child by modelling and encouraging positive self-talk in the home. Expect your child to be looking forward to something each day at school. That might be catching up with friends, a particular class in school or even an exam or test!

Social skills and being genuine

Adolescents are more likely to fit in and make friendships if they are seen to be socially acceptable by their peers. Ask yourself if your child is comfortable with, and knows how to enter a group situation and greet friends. Does your adolescent mix with friends in the schoolyard during breaks? Does your child talk about their friendships at home? How many of your child’s friends do you know well?

Read more: Popular friends on social media can help save you from disasters

Poor social skills can lead to increased loneliness in adolescents.

Being cool is a strong driver for secondary students. But being authentic is even more appealing. Adolescents recognise and appreciate genuine and authentic people – even if the peer is a bit quirky and seen as an outsider. It’s also a good idea to make contact with teachers at your child’s school to ask about their perceptions of how your child mixes socially with their peers.

Adolescence can be awkward. Here's how parents can help their child make and maintain good friendships Teens who have positive relationships with the adults in their life are more likely to have good relationships with their peers. from www.shutterstock.com

Healthy relationships with adults

Children who have good and healthy relationships with adults are more likely to have good and healthy relationships with their peers. So, it’s important for you to foster a supportive relationship with your child. Try to be an encouraging parent who really listens to your child’s concerns. Your child will not expect you to have all the answers.

But it’s likely a listening ear and a measured and moderate response will be welcomed by your adolescent child. If your child perceives you to be fair, that will go a long way to establishing a solid relationship between adult and child. In turn, it will increase the chance your child will have good relationships with his or her peers.

Read more: Nice guys finish first: empathetic boys attract more close female friends

Adolescence can be tricky to navigate from a parent’s perspective. Making and maintaining healthy friendships is just one battle of the teenage years. Parental role-modelling, encouragement and seeking support from the school can make this aspect of the adolescent years rewarding and fruitful for many years to come.

Authors: Michael Chambers, Lecturer, School of Education (Qld), Australian Catholic University

Read more http://theconversation.com/adolescence-can-be-awkward-heres-how-parents-can-help-their-child-make-and-maintain-good-friendships-107362

Politics

Central and North Queenslanders overwhelmingly back coal sector

More than 80 per cent of young people in Central and North Queensland believe the coal sector and the jobs it creates are critical to the state’s economy, particularly regional Queensland.   Mi...

Senator Canavan - avatar Senator Canavan

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton on steel industry

Ambitious expansion plans make mockery of those who wrote off Australian steel industry GFG Alliance's planned rejuvenation of the Whyalla steelworks, and the Australian steel industry more generall...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

George Neophytou supports roads funding and more

Independent candidate for Gippsland East George Neophytou has pledged to support completion of duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale and to upgrading of the Sale alternative ...

George Neophytou Media Release - avatar George Neophytou Media Release

Business News

6 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Business Process Management Software

Choosing the right business process automation software can be a daunting task for several reasons.  First, it presents a complex market offering various products that vary significantly in the type...

News Company - avatar News Company

10 Excellent Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs in 2019-2020

Top 10 Low-Budget Business Ideas for Students in 2019 Whoever said that you should wait for 10 or even more years after your graduation to launch your own business? 69% of US citizens start their ...

Elsa Avendano - avatar Elsa Avendano

The 1-Page Marketing Plan

SKIP BUSINESS SCHOOL. READ THIS NEW BOOK INSTEAD. Named as one of the “10 best marketing books for small business owners” by The Huffington Post.   MEDIA RELEASE: MELBOURNE, DECEMBER 13, 2018 —...

Claire Marshall - avatar Claire Marshall

Travel

Road Trip On Your Mind? Keep These Aspects In Mind As Well

Take a Road Trip! The great road trip. Movies are made of this type of freedom. The roads are calling and you are feeling the need for a road trip. Join millions of other people who enjoy the great o...

News Company - avatar News Company

Best Short Term Accommodation in Brisbane

Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland in Australia is known for its museum and Science center. With a lot of creative spaces and gardens on the riverside, it is a magnificent and popular destinat...

News Company - avatar News Company

Best Short-term Accommodations in Sydney

If you are looking to spend a night or two in the sprawling city of Sydney, you might be in need of a lodging place or hotel to stay. We would like to give you here a list of the best short term acc...

News Company - avatar News Company