For most people, middle school is a pretty tough time. You’re not quite a child anymore, but you’re not a young adult—you’re somewhere in the middle. This also happens to be the age range in which puberty begins for most kids, which just adds to the confusion.
Many adolescents at this age end up turning to social isolation for many different reasons. It could be that they feel like an outcast, they’re experiencing depression, they’re getting bullied, or something else entirely.
As a parent, you know it’s your job to try and recognize with issues–such as social isolation–are beginning to develop and seek out how to help them.
Early social isolation has consequences down the road
According to research, social interaction during adolescence is critical to overall development. In a study conducted by Haifa University and Columbia University, researchers discovered that social isolation “is detrimental for normal development” and may even be linked to developmental psychopathology.
In another study looking into the effects of social isolation during adolescence, results showed that it has a large impact on cognitive function and could be linked to neurodevelopmental disorders.
Overall, it’s fairly obvious that social isolation isn’t something that’s good for a child–but how does it even start?
Reasons middle schoolers isolate themselves
As a parent, I’m sure you at least vaguely remember how it seemed that no one understood you when you were a teenager. Sometimes that’s taken to an unhealthy level of thinking, though. Peer relationships play a critical role in your child’s development, which is why social isolation should set off a couple of alarms.
First of all, social isolation isn’t always a choice and when it is, it’s still hard to consider it a choice because it’s usually linked to deeper issues. Here are some reasons an adolescent may be isolating themselves:
- Bullying and purposeful exclusion. This is an example of social isolation being out of your child’s hands. Bullying continues to prevail as a big issue in schools and those bullies usually target those who are different in some way, whether that’s by how they look, perform academically, act, etc. Bullies have the power to make someone feel completely isolated, which could be the root of the issue.
- Underlying mental health issues. An underlying mental health issue that a child is unaware of can cause them to withdraw from others because they feel as if no one understands.
- Unhealthy reliance on technology. We live in a very technologically based world nowadays, but sometimes this can lead to adolescents developing unhealthy relationships with things like social media. An over reliance on something like social media can make it harder for some young people to interact face-to-face.
If you believe your daughter is struggling with social isolation, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for advice on how to move forward to best benefit your child.
Asheville Academy can help your daughter
Asheville Academy for Girls is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, social isolation, and other behavioral or emotional challenges. With the help of our licensed therapists, experienced teachers, caring staff, and expertly designed program, our students move closer to a healthier life. At Asheville Academy, we use the best tactics and therapeutic methods in order to help your daughter reach success.
For more information about Asheville Academy, call 800-264-8709 today.