Everyone wants to feel they belong. All humans desire a connection with someone who cares and to feel they are part of something bigger than themselves. Teens are no exception; in fact, since adolescence is such a radical time of change, the need may be even more prevalent. If young people do not have their need for belonging met in a healthy place – with family, appropriate friends, clubs, sports, etc. – they will get it in an unhealthy place – with inappropriate friends, drugs, gangs, etc. The satisfaction teens experience within groups contribute to feelings of security and support. Groups offer teens the opportunity to share ideas and interests, to demonstrate their abilities, and to gain personal recognition, all of which contributes to increased self-esteem.
How to Create a Strong Sense of Belonging
The best way to develop a strong sense of belonging is to create a community within your family. To accomplish this, parents should value their teens, support them in their activities, and create family traditions.
Valuing your teens means giving them a vote in decisions, listening to their input, recognizing and using their strengths, and understanding their weaknesses and finding ways to strengthen them. You can learn more about some of these techniques in our previous blog, Effectively Communicating with Teens…