Parenting a teenager is hard and helping them learn the necessary tools to navigate life’s challenges may seem impossible. As a parent, there are few things more painful in life than witnessing your child or children suffer. Teenage loneliness is inevitable at some point during one’s adolescence. However, it can be incredibly difficult to sit by and watch your isolated teenager suffer. Fortunately, there are a plethora of helpful tips and tools parents can use to help pull their lonely teen out of isolation. Helping your teenager cultivate healthy and effective coping mechanisms for navigating loneliness can serve them well beyond their teenage years.
Adolescence can be an incredibly confusing time in a young person’s life, and it is not uncommon for young people to cope with their teenage challenges by retreating. Instead of passively giving your teen space and letting them spiral downward into a deep hole of despair, you could take a more active role. There are many subtle and not so subtle ways you could help your isolated teenager combat loneliness. Consider the following tips, in no particular order:
Provide options: make a list of possible extracurricular opportunities with your teen in which he or she would be willing to participate.
Have open lines of communication: create an emotionally safe environment and have regular check-ins with your teenager.
Model: believe it or not, your teen is watching everything you do. Model healthy communication and be a living example of how to engage in relationships.
Establish and enforce boundaries: implementing clear boundaries at home can help your teen learn what healthy boundaries look like, which will then translate into their friendships.
Encourage volunteer work: often helping others can be both personally rewarding and fulfilling, which can increase one’s sense of self-worth.