When kids reach their preteens or teenage years, as a parent, you may wonder how they are handling their new life circumstances. Are they making friends? Are they overwhelmed by school? What is their social life like? Social competence in teens is an important issue.
For those whose kids may be shy, or reluctant to make new friends, the fear of rejection and bullying may be ever more present.
But for the so-called ‘popular’ kids, what makes them so? Is it really their clothes and looks? Their high skill in sports? Their outgoing personality? Their grades? Their good hygiene?
Well, some are in fact saying their likability may have to do with social competence.
Humans are social beings. And so, the peer support system that our teens have around them is important. Yes, your kid may like being alone, playing video games, painting art, or perfecting their musical skill. But that doesn’t mean they won’t need social relationships later in life. Learning social competence as teens is just as important as any other skill, we would argue.
Articles can point to it’s ability to affect mental health in adulthood. And, the social experiences kids have can determine whether their mental health is ‘triggered’, according to the nature vs. nurture theory. So it goes without saying that healthy social skills, and the ability to form social support groups, can go a long way in a child’s future.
We should make note that while this may be a common topic among caregivers of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or other neurodiverse conditions, it is surely not exclusive to that group. Many kids and teens may need help developing their social competence.