tweeter's picture

Teen has lousy social skills

I have a 14 yr old boy. "Normal" in almost every way. He has a difficult time relating to other kids.He often doesn't know what to say or how to respond appropriately. He's an only child.He says things that are inappropriate or sometimes just "nerdy". He's very intelligent. In the past has seen a therapist and has been diagnosed with nothing but "slightly OCD" (which has to do with purely personal habits, drinking with straws, can't stand how most people eat etc.) He's willing to work with me on improving social skills but I haven't found many good books, any advice out there? I'm desperate it HIGH SCHOOL now!

Sister83's picture

First, stating the obvious, a lot of kids this age are awkward and have poor social skills. It could be that you are overreacting.

But, if it is an option, I would continue to work with a therapist. The therapist may have to look deeper to see if he has a disorder. Does he have trouble gauging emotions and the proper responses/ conversation topics with all people, or just kids his age? Kids with autism-spectrum disorders sometimes have this problem. Or he could just have problems relating to kids his age.

It is also possible, that because of his intelligence (or for whatever reason), your son just has a slightly eccentric personality. Nothing wrong with being a little outside of the mainstream.

If your kid is a bit of a "nerd" it is hard to change that. And, although I know it will make things harder for him in highschool, maybe you shouldn't try to change it. If his personality is going to evolve, I think this is something that tends to happen on its own. You can't really teach someone how to fit in, or not be a nerd.

So, in a nutshell, I'd say go to a counselor just to see if they have any tips- or possibly to diagnose a disorder. But it is very important to work on building confidence and self-esteem and getting him involved in activities he likes- especially if the lack of social skills ends up making it hard for him to make friends.