Boys & Girls Club Blog

Helping Teens Build Social Skills

November 17, 2022

The last few years have been especially tough on our teens. The covid-19 school shutdowns and stay-at-home orders took away some of the very lifelines that most teens thrive on, social interaction with their peers.

At school, social skills like accountability and empathy are what empower youth to lead a group project or welcome a new student to sit at their lunch table. Building social skills is more important than ever after the past few years.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America says helping a teenager develop social skills enables them to envision and go after their own Great Futures by:

  • Making and maintaining healthy friendships

  • Learning to work effectively with peers and teachers

  • Participating in extracurricular activities for stronger college applications

  • Trying out jobs and growth in a stable career

  • Forming a supportive network of peers and adults at school, the Club and beyond

  • Maintaining strong mental health and positive self-esteem

  • Leading positive change in their communities

So how can I help my teen? 

1. Encourage them to join an after-school team, program or club. Our Teen Center program runs M-F 3:15-7 p.m. and offers a wide variety of programming options. We encourage our members to try new things and build new skills and friendships.

2. Balance socializing online and in person. Many teens emerging from the pandemic are still feeling disconnected from their peers. In-person conversations can seem daunting after so much social screen time, with youth needing to read facial expressions, body language and tone of voice in real-time.

3. Find purpose in helping others. There are reports that groups of teens are finding fulfillment in serving their communities during COVID-19.By getting involved in their community, teens are given opportunities to rally together with like-minded peers and adults and feel good about making a difference.

4. Explore new customs and cultures. Another way to improve teen social skills is by helping them embrace what’s different as well as what they have in common with others. To inspire your teen to be curious, inclusive and accepting, open your household to experiences that teach these social skills and encourage the whole family to get involved.

Our teens are the ones molding our futures. Here at the Club, we are always ready to help make the right choices and make sure their futures are Great!

By Jessica McKenna
Graduate & Career Coordinator – Oshkosh West High School