As our children begin to reach the transitional age in between the teenage years and young adulthood, some seem to engage socially with ease while others encounter a struggle. A major part of taking control of one’s own life is to become comfortable in communicating with others. This critical aspect of self development is simply more difficult for some young adults. When your young adult child can’t connect socially, there are several ways to help them to make the transition with less difficulty. Here are some useful tips on how to help them thrive in a digital world.

Reinforce self confidence

Parents can help their adult children to become more self confident in face to face communications by providing social situations where there is opportunity for in person interactions with others. The digital age has changed the way that teens and young adults socialize. Smart phones, tablets and other high tech devices allow text exchanges and online chat versus direct conversations with others. When there has been little practice in conversing with others directly, these contacts may become awkward and your child may avoid them because of the discomfort. By providing ample social situations for personal interactions, your child will gain self confidence in communicating with others.

Avoid passive parenting practices

Many parents take a passive approach to parenting by allowing children to spend hours on electronic devices without disruption. Giving them their own space is a healthy thing on one hand, but parents must still spend quality time talking and interacting socially with their teens and young adult kids. There is a tendency for everyone to do their own thing in some families, and this is where a failure to gain social skills can develop in your child. Taking a more active role by encouraging interactions with family and friends that do not revolve around digital media can give your child a more well rounded experience overall.

How to help your child develop better social skills

The goal is to help your child to learn how to interact with others socially. The only way to become skilled and comfortable in the process is through exposure and interaction. Socialization is a learned behavior that requires practice. It is much like a muscle that either wastes from lack of use or grows stronger through exercise. This means making some mistakes along the way and learning from them. While sending a text message or chatting allows for time to consider what is being said, direct social interactions involve thinking on your feet with no way to erase a comment after its been made. This is why some young adults choose to avoid making the mistakes and opt for the safer bet of social interaction via the digital world.

Help your child to have the best of both worlds

Achieving balance is a key in most areas of life. Being able to enjoy healthy social interactions in both the digital realm and in person will help your child to be comfortable in most settings. Digital literacy is important for advancing in a world that is driven by technology in both business and interpersonal communications. You can help your child to understand the importance of each through role modeling, having discussions on the topic and being present to give them guidance and encouragement in these areas.

Anonymous. (2010). Thriving in a digital age. Retrieved from on 01/14/2015.

Hague, C. & Payton, S. (2010). Digital literacy across the curriculum. Futurelab 2010 retrieved from on 01/13/2015.

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