This week I received an e-mail from Tammy, who listens to WBCL in Coldwater, Michigan. Tammy writes:
Dear Dr. Bill,
My 14-year-old son is very shy and nervous around girls his age. Can you give me some suggestions about how to help improve his confidence in this area?
I appreciate the fact that you’re concerned about your son, but I’ve got news for you—millions of 14-year-old boys are shy and nervous around girls. I know I was.
The early teen years are incredibly challenging. Kids are going through puberty and all the physical and emotional changes that go along with it. They’re dealing with peer pressure and they want desperately to fit in and be popular. And of course, they’re trying to relate successfully to the opposite sex.
Most teens are very self-conscious about how they look, act, and are perceived by their peers. One of the best ways to combat self-consciousness is to serve others.
Teens who get involved in service projects often feel a tremendous sense of fulfillment. In the process of serving, they also begin to focus less on themselves and build more confidence in relating to other people.
Encourage your son to get involved in club or organization that’s service-oriented. His school counselor should be able to suggest some good ones.
If your son isn’t involved in a local youth group, ask other Christian parents if they can recommend one. It should be a group that is focused on growth and discipleship, rather than simply fun and games.
Thanks for writing Tammy!