The preteen years are years of transition for children. They transition from being little kids to teenagers, and it's no wonder they look or feel awkward from time to time. While making the transition your child will likely face awkward moments, or behave in socially questionable ways from time to time. If your tween is going through an awkward stage, don't worry about it. It's normal. But there are ways to help your child get through the awkward stage or minimize awkward social situations. The tips below should help you help your awkward tween.
Helping the Awkward Preteen
Role Play Social Situations: Tweens don't always know how to act when they participate in social functions, and that could potentially lead them to awkward behavior or drawing negative attention from their peers. If your child seems out of place socially, try to help him through it by role playing how to behave and not behave and how to make conversation in a group. You might need to observe your preteen in social situations to know more about how to help him behave properly in public or at social functions. A few etiquette lessons might also be in order.
Teach Your Tween about Personal Space: Many tweens don't understand the concept of personal space. Be sure your tween knows that there is an imaginary boundary around each of us that, when it's violated, can make people feel uncomfortable. Again, role playing may help your child better understand why it's important to be social, but not so social that it makes others uncomfortable to be around you.
Laugh At It: Nobody is perfect, and nobody should be. We all do awkward or silly things from time to time, and it's important that your child learn to laugh at those moments and make light of them. Teach your tween that making a social blunder is just a part of being human, and that even adults make them from time to time. The important thing is to learn from them, and have a little fun laughing them off.
Teach Your Tween to be Himself: While it's important for your tween to know how to behave socially, it's also important that he or she be comfortable with who they are and not be afraid to share their personality with others. It's a balance that your child will have to figure out. Let your child know that you like his personality and others will, too, and that he shouldn't try to change himself just to be another member of the crowd. In other words, be himself but understand how his behavior can make him fun to be around, or uncomfortable, depending on his actions.
Apologize: If your child hurts the feelings of a friend or embarrasses another child an apology might be in order. Discuss the details with your child and tell him it's important to treat others with respect, and to ask for forgiveness when he doesn't. Learning how to take responsibility for his actions is a lesson that will serve your child throughout his life.
Note: Some tweens are socially awkward on purpose, in order to get a laugh from peers or to stand out from the crowd. If your child behaves awkwardly for attention, it's probably best to ignore it and let your tween pass through this stage. It probably won't last long, and as long as your tween is well adjusted, happy and doing well in school, there's really no reason to worry.