The Healthy Family Connections Podcast

Episode 060 · Duration: 00:13:18



My Teen Daughter Doesn’t like to Socialize

Are you concerned that your son or daughter is socially immature? Today we’re answering a question from TH of Stoughton, MA.

My Teen Daughter Doesn’t like to SocializeHow do we assist her in finding her passion? My daughter is a 10th grader, mostly A student and plays basketball. Hubby and I are having a difficult time as we don’t see any passion in her and she doesn’t want to do the summer programs that we suggest, academic or athletic. She doesn’t know what she wants to major in in college however, she does want to attend. She doesn’t think she wants to play basketball in college. She’s good but could be amazing if she were willing to work with a trainer, etc. Her effort is amazing during her practices but she doesn’t want to do anything extra. She doesn’t like to be challenged either, although she’s taken some honors classes with prompting from us. She has a hard time socially, her friends are the people that pursue her. As a baby she would frown when we were away from home but as soon as we walked through the doors she would grin and laugh. She’s similar now, doesn’t really like to say hello, basically avoids people and doesn’t feel bad about it either. At home with our family she is so energetic constantly kissing her brothers, plays games with them, loves our family game time and family time in general. She dances around the house and is so much fun.

Thanks for your question TH. I hear you and your husband are concerned that your daughter who does well in several areas, school and basketball, doesn’t have clear goals, is not inclined to push herself, is not very social and is very much a homebody.

Kids and Maturity

There are a few things to think about here. First of all, kids mature in different ways, at different rates, and different times. They are snowflakes, each one is different, so we can’t expect every kid to hit every developmental skill area the same way, at the same time.

It’s not good to think that every low skill area our kids or teens has represents a significant problem. Each child or teenager has their own strength and weakness profile. We want to support our children and teens in growing and investing in their strengths while improving in their areas of relative weakness.

Teenagers have their own strength and weakness profile. We want to support our them in growing and investing in their strengths while improving in their areas of relative weakness.Click To Tweet

Focus On The Positives

In your question, TH, I’m hearing lots of good things about your daughter and about you as parents.

  • She is playing basketball and is doing really well.
  • You say her effort in practice is amazing, so that’s huge.
  • She gets mostly A’s in school
  • It sounds like everything she chooses to do, she does well in.
  • You describe her as very happy as she enjoys her family very much.
  • You have family game night, and she loves it. How fabulous it that?
  • Her parents wisely encourage her to take honors classes and she accepts your guidance here.
  • What a terrific family you are!
  • TH, most 10 graders don’t know what they want to major in in college. I didn’t know what I was going to major in until the 2nd half of my sophomore year in college. So let’s not worry about that.

As I said, kids are snowflakes, they’re each beautiful in their own unique way. They all have their areas of strength and areas of relative weakness.

What we want to do is support our kids in their areas of strength, and help them along in their areas of weakness.

The mistake we don’t want to make is to over focus on their areas of weakness and forget to enjoy and help them feel good about their areas of strength.

Embrace Your Teen’s Basic Nature

Your daughter is somewhat socially immature and tends not to want to get out of her comfort zone socially. She’s not terribly ambitious or, at this point, passionate about anything outside of her family, which she is very passionate about.

This is your daughter’s basic nature. Even as an infant you remember her being unusually unhappy away from her parents. Does she remind either one of you of yourselves at her age, or a sibling at her age? These characteristics, in her case are innate. And I say that, in this case, because she comes from a loving supportive family and I’m not hearing about any trauma that would cause her to be fearful of the social world.

Given that your daughter is simply being who she is, and is healthy, your daughter needs two things from her parents:

  1. Enjoy her, talk with her, listen to her, and have faith in her. She is doing very well and as she continues along her developmental path will continue to do very well.
  2. Continue to warmly encourage and even warmly require involvement in areas that will help her develop socially, and otherwise challenge her to move her out of her comfort zone, such as taking advance placement classes.

Here are some ideas to help her along:

  • Since she is very family focused, what you can do is more social things as a family. Get together with other families and have outings or go camping with several families. Involve your daughter in the planning and preparation for these activities.
  • There are family camps where kids go off with same age kids to do activities and adults do different activities They get back together at different times. That would be a good way to encourage social development.
  • Help her make some choices about summer activities. You can start by helping her set some summer goals and let her know that she is going to need to make some choices. Of course, basketball camp, or being a camp counselor at a local day camp. There are art classes, music classes, even computer programming classes that she can involve herself in. Given that she likes family life as much as she does, in the summer she can learn and participate in menu planning, cooking, cleaning, all life skills that will help her learn and grow.
  • You might even have her basketball coach personally encourage her to join a basketball camp or he can have a couple of the girls on the team who are going invite her to join them.

Keep in mind that your daughter is a sophomore and there is commonly a shift towards young adult thinking in high school juniors. During her junior year you can visit some colleges and that will help her envision and think more into her future.

High school juniors are commonly noted to make a shift towards young adult thinking during this transitional age. Click To Tweet

What Parents Can Do

I consulted about your question with my favorite clinical psychologist, Dr. Honos-Webb, author of The Gift of ADHD and other books and she said she didn’t see any red flags with your daughter. If things don’t progress over the next year and she gets stuck, you could consider psychological testing, but I’m sure that she is going to do just fine.

A person can have passion but not have a specific area of focus for their passion, although your daughter is very passionate about her family. So, give it time. As she begins to consider her future more, you can share how you found your passions and offer her literature on the subject.

Again, give this some time. Enjoy this time of your daughter loving her family. Continue to establish healthy expectations for social activities and personal challenges. Right now, she’s a happy teenager and if you stress her too far, she’ll lose that, and her happiness is golden. She isn’t looking for happiness on social media, or a boyfriend, or the latest styles, she has it within herself and her family, so let’s enjoy her happiness and share in it.

Parents, let’s give ourselves a break. In this age of parenting information overload we could be worrying about our kids when we’re really doing a wonderful job and our kids are happily being exactly who they’re supposed to be. We need to be cautious that we’re not needlessly stressing our kids out by worrying about who they aren’t instead of enjoying who they are.

Parents: be cautious that you’re not needlessly stressing your kids out by worrying about who they aren’t instead of enjoying who they are.Click To Tweet

Thanks for tuning in today everyone and special thanks to TH from Stoughton, Massachusetts for her question.

It’s already been a month since I completed the first Empowered Teen Parenting Course. The participants benefited greatly and are seeing positive changes in their family! Details on the next course offering will be coming in the future. If you want to hear more information on the next course, be sure to sign up for the waitlist or send me an email!

Remember, take care of yourselves; you need it, you deserve it, you’re worth it. Bye for now.


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