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 At some stage, your child is likely to come home either sullen, withdrawn, crying or moody.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

Scott Morrison at Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce

QUESTION: I suppose one question I'll ask is about the role of social media, YouTube, Facebook. And the sort of thought process that we’re having as a nation of how we can create that sort of societ...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Delivering the rail links Western Sydney needs

The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments will ensure the Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport has a metro rail line in time for its opening.   The Prime Minister said his Gover...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Nancy-Bird Walton immortalised at Western Sydney Airport

Australia’s biggest aviation project will honour one of the nation’s trailblazing stars of the sky.   The $5.3 billion Western Sydney Airport will officially become Western Sydney International (N...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Intense Growth As Car Next Door Launch Capital Raise

Releasing internal revenue figures for the first time, Car Next Door has achieved marketplace revenue of $10m last year and is on track to almost double that again in 2019 as it marks the start of a...

Car Next Door - avatar Car Next Door

How two 30-year old’s made 4 million in 2 years with coffee

Try ordering a “coffee” and chances are you’ll be met with a bored eyeroll and the expectation to specify “how” you’d like your coffee. Will it be, cold-drip, filter, nitro, hell let’s go old school...

Sophia Day - avatar Sophia Day

Why savvy female entrepreneurs need branding more than ever

Branding isn’t new, but it’s become a integral factor in any business success, especially for female entrepreneurs. With an oversupply of skincare, hair and beauty products, fashion accessories, hea...

Stella Gianotto - avatar Stella Gianotto

Travel

The Gold Coast is famous for fun but it is also famous for horrible traffic issues

The Gold Coast is a great place for a holiday but there are problems that tourists need to be aware of. The Gold Coast airport is a busy place. Thousands of visitors arrive every day from around the ...

Holiday Centre - avatar Holiday Centre

Older generation Australians are embracing solo travel

Allianz predicts a rise in solo travel in 2019, revealing those most likely to ‘go -it-alone’ among the 50+ age group   The popular ‘solo travel’ trend is predicted to continue in 2019 with mor...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

Fun Things You Must Do In Perth

Perth: Sun, sand and 19 beaches might seem to sum up the city, but not quite. The sunniest capital city in Australia offers so much more for you to do. Regardless of what your idea of fun is, you wi...

News Company - avatar News Company