Following social rules

At a Glance: How to Help Your High-Schooler Follow Social Rules

By Lexi Walters Wright

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High-schoolers are constantly encountering new social situations, from the prom to their first job interview. Not following social rules can create challenges. Learn how you can help.

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Trouble Following Social Rules:
How to Help Your High-Schooler
As teens prepare for life after high school, following social rules becomes increasingly important. Below are common trouble situations—and ways to help.
Stay on topic.
Example: A group of kids are talking about what sports they’re trying out for. Your child says: “I’m going to take ceramics as my elective. Have you guys taken it?”
How to help: Encourage your teen to really listen to what others are talking about. Remind her to try to respond with something on topic.
Cooperate with others.
Example: In debate class, your child’s teammates choose another student to make the opening arguments. Your child loudly objects.
How to help: Remind her that her view isn’t the only one. She can state her opinion but needs to accept the group decision. Brainstorm what she might say.
Pay attention to social cues.
Example: Your child’s been waiting in a long line to get her license. Others in line are clearly frustrated, but she loudly says, “I’ve been here forever!”
How to help: Say, “Please lower your voice. I know you’re fed up, but so is everyone else.” Remind her that how she speaks is as important as what she says. Loud complaints make others uncomfortable and don’t accomplish anything.
Practice self-control.
Example: Your child is interviewing for a weekend job. As the boss describes the work hours your child interrupts him: “I’m not a morning person.”
How to help: Remind your teen to pause and think before speaking. Talk about how the boss, or a college admissions counselor, would take that comment.
Graphic of Trouble Following Social Rules: How to Help Your High-Schooler
Graphic of Trouble Following Social Rules: How to Help Your High-Schooler

About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright is a veteran writer and editor who helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

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Portrait of Jenn Osen Foss

Jenn Osen-Foss, M.A.T., is an instructional coach, supporting teachers in using differentiated instruction, interventions and co-planning.

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