Rohan is forever playing on computer games, mostly alone in his room. Sometimes Rohan’s mother can see him chatting with other people online, discussing game tactics, but she doubts very much that these people are really his friends. Rohan never really brings friends home at all thinking about it, and she is starting to question whether this is something she should worry about.
At the vulnerable stages of teen-hood, she thinks that Rohan should have some friends who he shares some common interests with, and more than that – with who he can share the ups and downs of teenage life. Rohan doesn’t seem to bothered, but then again would he tell his mother if he was upset and lonely? Is he too absorbed in computer games to realize that he is missing out on something more real?
You see other children hanging around together outside, or meeting up to go to the mall, or playing football in the park. “Perhaps Rohan isn’t into all that, but he could at least invite friends around to play games couldn’t he?” his mother reflects. When they walk past the other children, or when she drops him off at school, it is not like the other children seem to pick on Rohan, but Rohan seems uninvolved somewhat. A bit distant and dreamy.
Rohan’s mother eventually decides to ask Rohan about this, and realizes that it is a problem. She needs answers. She talks to Rohan, and he admits that he has been struggling to connect with his peers since he moved house two years ago. He has been suffering self-esteem issues, brought on by his inability to fit in. They eventually decide to seek help together.
The Importance Of Teenage Friendship
The age of 16 is a tender one, and friendship circles differ. Every teen is different. Some are extroverted, and some are introverted; some like to socialize often, and some rarely. Everyone needs a friend though, at least one person to share life with. For a teenager, it is important that they develop strong bonds with people their own age, who “live in the same world as them” so to speak.
If you notice that your teenage son is withdrawn from social activities, rarely talks about other people in the context of friendship, and spends most of his time on his own, then there might be cause for concern.
There could be any number of reasons for the social withdrawal. Perhaps they have been rejected from a social group, or perhaps the friends that they once spent time with have started dabbling in unsavory activities, and your teenager is choosing not to take part. They could have self-esteem and confidence issues, or they could be showing signs of withdrawal based on earlier life experiences.
With such a range of potential reasons for your teenager to be lacking close friendship, the most important first step is to establish an open line of communication, without making assumptions, or undermining them. This could, after all, be a sensitive issue for them. You should establish what the problem is, and try to discuss whether this is temporary, or deeper rooted.
Dr Keerti Sachdeva says, “Teenage years are some of the toughest in a person’s life. It may seem to us when we look back, that we had little to worry about, but hormonally and perceptually teenagers go through some really rocky roads on their way to adulthood. Friendship is an important part of the individuation and socialization process, so it is very important the teenagers do not neglect this aspect of life. If they are lonely, and feel they cannot, or do not want to connect with their peers, then this might be cause for concern. As parents we want what is best for our little adults, so this concern is by no means ill-founded.”
“It is important to communicate well with your boy. This is the first step to understanding. If you suspect the problem to be deep-seeded and potentially damaging, then you should seek psychologist advice and counseling, which can help to address the concern.”
If you suspect that your teenage boy has no close friends, and you feel concerned that this could be affecting him, then contact our psychologist counselors for more expert advice.
Expert advice in this post has been provided by Dr. Keerti Sachdeva and edited by OyeHelp.