How Does Journaling Help Your Pre-teen With Social Skills?
The pre-teen years are a time when the social skills we learned as a child become more developed and refined. In our younger years, we began to learn that we are not the center of the universe, learning, for example, to share with others, saying please and thank you. These examples, along with many others, are the foundation from which more developed social skills will emerge. Encouraging your pre-teen to start a journal and write about their social interactions will help them develop their social skills more fully.
Here are some ways that journaling will help your pre-teen with their social skills.
Journaling Can Eliminate Self-Doubt & Build Confidence
Many pre-teens have doubts in themselves and/or their abilities. Self-doubt is a hindrance when it comes to interacting with others. If your pre-teen has doubt in herself then it becomes practically impossible for her to have faith in the relationships with those around her, including peers. This will affect your pre-teen’s social skills. Parents of pre-teens who possess any degree of self-doubt should encourage their child to write in their journals about the how, who, and why of it.
As your pre-teen writes they will be able to see the things that are causing the self-doubt. Then, with a greater understanding they can – with more ease and assurance – start taking steps to change it. As they change the thoughts that are causing their self-doubt they will naturally acquire more confidence. As the confidence of your pre-teen increases so will his social skills. The improvement of confidence should be written about in your pre-teen’s journal as well.
Identify Positive Personality Traits Through Journaling
Positive personality traits contribute to our social skills and interactions. Positive personality traits might include, but are not limited to, being happy and upbeat, encouraging and helping others, and being responsible. Parents can encourage their pre-teen to identify and write about those personality traits that they like about themselves. They may also choose to write about how these skills are useful when they are interacting with others. If your pre-teen identifies a personality trait that may not be useful or productive they should be encouraged to write these down as well and then develop a plan of how to address them. Just be sure to assure the child that everyone, even parents, has weaknesses that they must manage and overcome. It is a part of life.
Use Your Journal To Cope With Social Anxiety
Some pre-teens may suffer from social anxiety in groups larger than two or three. These children interact well with others when there are few people to deal with, but when the group becomes larger they can suddenly become quiet, nervous and withdrawn. Then, when they speak they may stutter and/or keep their speaking very short. For most pre-teens, social anxiety is relatively easy to overcome with a little help from parents, and psychologists when necessary.
One way you can help your pre-teen overcome social anxiety is to encourage them to use journal writing as a tool. Encourage them to journal about the situations and/or people that cause them anxiety, what feelings they experience when it happens and how they think they might be able to change it. If your child is comfortable with sharing these types of journal entries with you, you may be able to get a dialog going that could help them even more.