Whether your teen daughter is struggling to stop the drama with her BFFs, has trouble in social situations or is finding dating difficult, relationship role play activities provide a safe environment for her to explore specific challenges. You, another adult relative, a close friend or an older sibling can help her by acting out social scenes in which a problem arises or she must confront an issue. Role play activities may range from simple discussions or starting a conversation to more intense issues such as breaking up with a boyfriend.
Dating and Romance
As if navigating the rocky world of romance wasn't challenging enough, your teen's newness to these love-laden situations can make her uncomfortable or even anxious. Instead of sending her out into the dating world without any clue as to how she should act, try a relationship role playing situation that focuses on her main concerns. The American Academy of Pediatrics, on its Healthy Children website, suggests that parents take their teen's romances seriously and avoid dismissing these situations as childish or "not real." If your daughter isn't sure what to say on her first date, doesn't know how to start up a conversation with a boy or just wants to feel more at ease, set up a pretend date in which you -- or another family member -- plays the role of her date during dinner.
While you might think that your daughter is adept at making friends from her years of experience in social and school situations, she may still need your help at times. Kids who are shy often have difficulty making new friends, according to the the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. As your teen enters high school, she may feel anxious about meeting new girls and developing new friendships. To reduce her anxiety, and help her to come out of her shy shell, try a role playing activity. Pretend that you are a classmate and have your teen show you how she would approach the girl and start a conversation. If she doesn't know where to start, reverse roles and you act as her and have her be a peer. This will help her to see how she should act when trying to make friends.
Peer pressure occurs when kids try to influence other kids to do something that they may not necessarily want to, according to KidsHealth. Your teen's peer relationships may include at least some degree of pressure to fit in, act a certain way or engage in specific activities. Peers may try to get your teen to drink alcohol, try smoking cigarettes or engage in sexual behaviors by putting verbal pressure on her to do what they are doing. Role play these types of scenarios, teaching your teen how to say "no" and stand up for herself. Pretend that you are another teen and put the pressure on. Encourage your teen to take her own stance or walk away from the situation.
Dating Gone Wrong
More than 1 out of every 10 adolescents reports being the victim of violence during the teen years, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Even if your teen isn't in a romantic relationship yet, she should still understand the negative consequences of dating violence. Teach her to recognize the signs of dating violence and help her to understand what to do in a sticky situation through role play. While you shouldn't actually abuse your teen, play the role of the aggressor to see what she does in response. This may help her to better identify a violent situation or stand up for herself if she ever needs to during a real-life relationship. Discuss talking to you if she does experience this type of situation, or going to another trusted adult such as a teacher.
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