1. Parenting

5 Good Reasons Your Teen Needs a Strong Sense of Belonging

By

Fitting-in, or having a strong sense of belonging, will help your teen learn coping skills and life skills that will allow them to make their best choices into their adulthood. Here are five good reasons your teen needs a strong sense of belonging:

Good habits can be modeled and are often transferred to a teen that feels he belongs within a group or family unit. Want your teen to pay more attention to their homework or to develop their talent in dance? Get them into a study or dance group of like-minded peers. Want your teen to take pride in their room? Clean your house and do chores together as a family on a regular basis, modeling your pride in and care of the things you own.

Belonging to a peer group and family helps teens work on their identity and individuality. When your teen feels like they 'fit in' with a group that promotes their likes and social values, they can become stronger in their attitudes and convictions. Therefore, it becomes important for parents of teenagers to pay attention to their teens social group and help promote positive friendships for their teens.

Belonging in a family and peer group gives a teen's identity a firm foundation, so they feel they are capable of trying new things. This feeling is important to teens as they grow older and start to reach out and explore their own lives. Even though being a part of groups can at times be a bumpy road, for instance your teen may not be very active with their family when they have a boyfriend or girlfriend or they may have struggles with their friends, but as long as they know that they a part of the group, the good times and the bad will strengthen their self- confidence.

A sense of belonging to family for a teen helps stave off loneliness or homesickness when teens go away to college - or just camp - because when you feel like you belong, those feelings get carried with you wherever you go. Being alone doesn't mean you feel lonely as many people without a strong sense of belonging can feel lonely in a crowded room. And in this same sense, a sense of belonging can help teens avoid depression.

Last but not least, a teen who experiences the benefits of belonging to a group is capable of choosing other positive groups that are fun, have experiences in which they can learn worthwhile life lessons and are good for their self-esteem.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.