Boulder Creek Academy, a therapeutic boarding school located in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, has extensive experience working with students between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. In particular, Boulder Creek Academy’s program helps students who struggle socially or who have a nonverbal learning disorder or low self-esteem.
Many parents struggle to support a child who has a tough time navigating social environments with peers and making friends. The child might not want to go to school due to being a victim of bullying, for example, or he or she might feel socially isolated. While parents might feel powerless to help, there are a number of approaches they can take to better understand their child and provide assistance.
First of all, parents should avoid the mindset that something is wrong with their child because he or she has trouble building friendships. Instead, they should think of interacting with others as a skill. While some children are naturally good at this skill, others take longer to learn. However, children can make progress with the right therapeutic guidance and with supportive practice. For instance, parents might focus on teaching particular skills, such as small talk or understanding nonverbal conversational cues.
To help a child build self-confidence and provide situations where he or she can learn and practice these skills, parents might also work to encourage the child’s interests, whether they relate to music, sports, art, or another area. This can provide an outlet for the child, especially if the activity takes place outside of the child’s regular school environment. Since many times teasing or bullying can arise out of a social hierarchy at school, engaging in activities outside of school with different peers can be a big help.