This site is primarily a resource for people who are shy and socially awkward themselves. This article is one of a handful on how to help someone else in your life who is dealing with those problems. What can you do as a parent if you have an older teenage son or daughter who seems to struggle in social situations?

If a parent has a child with social difficulties, there are some rough ways that can play out. In some cases the child clearly has challenges from a fairly early age, to the point where it seems appropriate for parents and the school to step in and try to help. There are many ways to help a younger child learn interpersonal skills: Direct teaching, social skills training groups, seeing a counselor to assess whether there are developmental differences in play, and so on. Any help they receive as an older teenager will be a continuation of the support they’ve been getting for years.

Another scenario, the one that will likely apply to the majority of the parents reading this article, is when the child always came across as a bit quiet or different, but they seemed happy enough growing up. Maybe they didn’t have friends over that often or had non-mainstream hobbies, but they never seemed awkward enough that any flags were raised or any interventions were made. If they were seen as anything it was as a late bloomer, someone who would come out of their shell in their own time. However, now that they’re in that 16-19 age range it’s suddenly become clear that they’re pretty behind their peers socially. Again, what can you do as a parent to help?

Read more