Why Your Teen Needs Friends Outside Of School

Your teenager's school friends are an important part of their social development. But, this circle of friends isn't always enough. Sometimes, a teen's school friends are a poor influence on them, which can lead your teenager down a troubled path that requires therapeutic intervention.

Or maybe your teen doesn't have that much in common, just that they are in the same place. Whatever the matter, there can be many reasons why your teen needs friends outside of their school sphere, and we want to help you assist them in making other friends.

Friends Outside Of School Can Be Better Influences

Sometimes, kids can stick with friends that aren't headed down the best path. These friends may be childhood friends or friends made out of convenience to help survive the rigors of middle and high school. But, just because there is history or convenience, school friends may not be the best influences on your teenager.

Friends made outside of school can be more selectively chosen from same-interest groups, such as church youth groups and community sports leagues. With more carefully cultivated friends, your teen can have better influences in their life and on their behaviors.

Teens Can Learn More About Others

Schools often have children from the same demographics, as public school zoning laws put kids together from nearby areas. While it can be helpful to attend school with other kids similarly circumstanced, it does leave your teen with a narrower view of what the world is like as a whole.

With friends outside of their school bubble, your teen can learn more about other cultures, different lifestyles, and become more comfortable with a wide range of people.

Find Other Teens With More In Common

Some teens feel out of place until they go to college and find like-minded friends and others with similar interests. But, your teen shouldn't have to wait until they are young adults to find true friends that share ideas, interests, values and more in common.

By making concentrated steps to find friends beyond the classroom, your teen is far more likely to find friends that they have more in common with.

Ways To Help Your Teen Make New Friends

If you can see the value in having your teenager develop friendships outside of their school group, the next step is how to help your teen find these new friends. Some ideas you may want to consider are:

  • Special interest group meetings - Depending on your teenager's interests, you may want to look for special interest groups, such as makers clubs for innovators and young entrepreneurs, or a robotics club. Many of these groups post their calendar of activities on either their websites, which you can find with a google search or on a local community calendar.
  • Therapeutic outlets - For struggling teens, finding friends who have similar issues can help your teen feel less alone. Options such as group therapy, or more immersive therapeutic boarding programs, can be healing in a number of ways for your teen.
  • After-school programs - After-school programs are not always only attended by students who attend your teen's school. These programs can be community-run or be open to locals who aren't in the same school district. At one of these programs, your teen can mingle with other kids more easily through the medium of activities.
  • Youth religious groups - You local churches may have youth groups where adolescents can gather for a variety of activities. These activities likely will have a spiritual tone, which may or may not be what you want for your teen.

With the ability and skills to make friends outside of the context of school, your teen will be better prepared to leave the familiar surroundings of home and navigate their young adult relationships.

Speak Your Mind