Social Skills Training Grades 7–12
Teens today face extremely difficult times for development of social skills. There is an overall consensus, on the part of the psychologists, that the social environment is much more challenging than when we were kids. There are many reasons for these changes. However, the ramifications of these changes are profound. Teens are slowly losing essential one-on-one relationship skills. This is not to say that they don’t have friends. They do. It is that navigating these relationships often takes more skill than they possess.
Social skills training sessions have one main goal—to boost the “emotional IQ” that research shows is the number one predictor of successful, happy, well-balanced teens and eventual adults.
The annual training sessions provide tools to help your teen face the challenges at school, extracurricular activities and eventual dating. Social skills techniques are best acquired in a controlled age appropriate setting, where the other members of the group face similar challenges, and plenty of hands on experiential practice can take place.
Social skills training groups are once a year. Each age group meets to cover the material of particular concern to their level of development. It is very important for me to observe your teen in a group setting. This allows me to “see” more clearly strengths and weaknesses that I cannot see in individual therapy.
We divide the groups into a number of modules. The first half is lecture and group discussion. The second half is experiential-hands on practice of skills with other group members.
Topics Covered in the Didactic and Group Discussion:
- Changes in society—the increase of narcissism.
- The change in priorities—friends are not as important to teens as in the past.
- Healthy friendships—the greatest defense.
- Do looks matter as much as we think they do?
- Authenticity and vulnerability—what matters.
- How do girls think?
- How do boys think?
- What is truly important to girls in a relationship?
- What is truly important to boys in a relationship?
- Discernment and character constructs.
- Seeing rejection before it happens.
- Texting and social media—what works and what doesn’t.
Topics Covered in Experiential—Teens will learn and practice:
- Eye contact (giving “smiling eyes”).
- Proxemics (personal space issues).
- Reading non-verbal cues and expressions.
- Initiating the conversation.
- Chaining (skill of small talk).
- Being an “interesting person”.
- Closures with direction (for boys).
- Joining conversations already in progress.
- Giving and receiving compliments.
- Follow ups—friendships take work.
Question and Answer Period
One of the favorite exercises during the group is the Question and Answer. Boys can ask girls questions and vice versa. The group discussion is excellent as we all work on social dilemmas and challenges
I want my teens to approach relationships with a skill set, experiential practice and more self-confidence.
Foundations of Principals Taught
In teen groups, there is NO way to get around sexual issues, so we meet it head on. I teach by Biblical principles of abstinence. However, I want your teen to know how those constructs work and practical understandings of why, as well. Teens seek and need closeness. They will learn why kids “act out” sexually. They will learn practical reasons as to why that backfires.
Girls—In the last few years, I have observed some very significant changes in the behaviors of girls. The reasons are argued by psychologists, but regardless, many girls have really “stepped outside” of the boundaries of lady-like behaviors. Girls have always been more caddy and clique-ish than boys, however these behaviors have become more verbal and openly aggressive. We will cover why this is a non-working solution (ex: calling boys, asking for dates, taking the lead). We also cover what behaviors do work and that boys like and respect.
Boys—It has always been difficult to have the confidence to take the leadership role in relationship formation. Due to the comfort zone of socializing in groups, boys are even more reticent to communicate one-on-one. Today’s boys are feeling as though asking for a date is some kind of permanent commitment. And, as always, they are afraid of rejection. Boys are also having problems sorting out who is truly someone you really want in a relationship from who you do not. These dilemmas will be explained and tips and techniques for negotiating the relationship. It is helpful to learn what a rejection looks like. This helps them discern ahead of time, when they are likely to be rejected. Although, this doesn’t happen often, it is a number one concern with boys. Studies show when they get this skill down, it actually increases their self-confidence considerably, and increases their willingness to take the leadership role.
Details of the Groups
- The teens will be grouped by age and/or relative maturity.
- Groups are only once a year. If you cannot attend this year’s group and you want to stay on the group list, please let Julie know at 940-242-0501.
- Each year is a more advanced age appropriate curriculum.
- Groups meet Sunday afternoon 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
- Where—my office 2700 Tibbets Drive, Suite 500, Bedford, Texas 76022
- Teens like to exchange phone numbers, email, Twitter, etc. Please let your teen know if you permit them to do so.
New group members are sometimes apprehensive and they will not be thrilled to attend due to their anxiety. Expect that. However, once they see what it is, they join in quickly and really enjoy it.
I, of course, want your teen to attend. These are skills best learned in a group with similar problems and plenty of kids to practice.
You will need to call Julie @ 940-242-0501 to make a reservation for your group. I am looking forward to this opportunity to do something a little different and yet meaningful for your teen.