The middle school and high school years can be extremely hard! Countless teen movies and shows have depicted the typical scenario: cool kids hang out together, and everyone else gets left out. In real life, this scenario plays out every day in schools across the country. The teen years are full of critical milestones that allow kids to mature socially and mentally. Unfortunately, teenage peer-to-peer relationships can get complicated.
As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your teen go through life without friends. When the other kids get together for social activities, your kid stays at home again. Other kids don’t call or text to invite him to things. His attempts at making friends only get shot down.
How to help your son when he doesn’t have any friends
Though you can’t force other kids to be friends with your son, there are a few things that you can do to help him develop new friendships.
Get him involved in extracurricular activities
Teens can struggle to make friends for a couple of reasons. If your family has recently moved or if your son has switched schools, it might take him a little while to meet new people. Finding friends in middle school and high school can be difficult, especially for kids who don’t have any connections at school. By getting involved in extracurricular activities, he will get to meet other kids with similar interests.
Some teens struggle to make friends because they seem to be different than all of the other kids. Their interests don’t align with the popular trends, and they feel like an outcast. If this sounds like your son, encourage him to get involved in extracurricular activities. If he finds a club or team that suits his interests, he is more likely to make some friends.
Keep in mind the activities don’t need to be directly linked to his school. If he already knows that he doesn’t get along with the kids at his school, he might benefit from hanging out with kids from other schools.
Encourage him to branch out
Whether your son is new to town or doesn’t have friends in his class, he could benefit from branching out and trying new things. Many teens feel awkward in new situations, so they retreat to activities that are already comfortable for them. Remind him that his situation won’t change if he keeps doing the same old things.
Encourage your teen to break his routine. It’s natural to feel out of place when you first try new things. Whether it’s joining a team or just talking to new people in his class, it might feel uncomfortable at first. Changing his social patterns will take some effort, but it can lead to new opportunities.
Remind him that he is worthy of love
When teens struggle to make friends, they can take it pretty hard. Humans are social creatures, and we look for the acceptance of our peers. This is true throughout our whole lives, but it’s especially true for adolescents. If your son feels like his peers are rejecting him, he might feel like a failure.
Remind your son that he interacts with a limited amount of people, and they won’t all get along well. As adults, we get more say in choosing our peers. We develop friendships in a variety of settings and have lots of options for hobbies. As a teenager, most peer interaction is limited to the school day. If your son doesn’t get along with the other kids in his class, he doesn’t have many other options for peers.
As your teen starts looking for more positive peer interaction, remind him that there is more to the world than his school. Ensure that he knows that his family loves him and that he is worthy of being loved by others. Even if he isn’t surrounded by compatible peers right now, he can change his surroundings as he gets older.
What if none of that works?
If your son doesn’t seem to have any friends, keep an eye out for signs of depression or mental health trouble. Some teens who struggle in social situations find success by attending a therapeutic boarding school rather than a traditional school. Students still receive high school credits for their classes, but they also meet new people and participate in unique extracurricular activities.
Contact us today to find out if our school is a good fit for your son.