“Putting yourself out there” isn’t easy, even as an adult. The challenge is even more difficult in adolescence, when everything seems more amplified and the stakes much higher.
You can help your children learn how to make the process of getting to know new people and experience new things not so scary—keep reading to learn more.
Pick an Activity
Having your children focus on an activity they enjoy, or even one they know they are good at, can be a good place to start the conversation. Having a bit of a sense of security when entering into a new situation is often a way to ease the transition.
Ask your kids what they feel confident about and then try to connect the dots by highlighting a program or group at school or an event in the community.
Find a Friend
Although the point of taking risks, especially in a new school setting, is to meet new people and make new friends, it can help to have a partner instead of trying it alone.
For your children, knowing that they have a healthy crutch to fall back on in a new situation might make it easier to take the plunge when signing up for the soccer team or auditioning for a school play.
Talk with your children about what their friends are doing and how they might be able to get involved too.
New Doesn’t Have to Be Scary
Conversations like these are often met with eye rolls, but taking the time to talk with your children about what it means to be able to try new things and experiment may really be of service to them one day.
Explaining that learning how to “put yourself out there now” will equate to larger successes later in life might just be the kick start that they need. It’s important to underscore the fact that there is always a “first time” for trying something new. Eventually that behavior becomes natural and what once seemed scary eventually becomes welcome.
Everyone Can Relate
Finally, let your children know that they are not alone in their fear of getting out there and trying something new, or making new friends. It can be terrifying for many people. Relating to your child how it was difficult for you or someone you both know might help them feel less “weird” about their anxiety.
Feeling alone in something usually amplifies the feeling. Make sure that your children know other students are likely experiencing the same feelings about engaging in new activities. Gently reassure and push them in the right direction so that one day the right type of healthy risk-taking becomes natural.