“Why don’t you invite someone over this weekend?” is something parents often say to encourage their kids to be more social. While this may seem like a great way to encourage children to take risks socially, it often ends up going south. Kids don’t end up asking anyone over. They become defensive. They make excuses. Meanwhile they spend the whole weekend at home, on the couch.
A better approach is to say, “Hey, we have an extra ticket to the Giants (or whatever would seem fun and cool) game. Why don’t you invite Sarah (insert name of the closest friend your child has) to come?”
This works for 2 reasons:
1. You’ve picked the place. You have identified a fun, socially accepted activity that most kids would love to go to.
2. You’ve picked the person. You’ve identified someone who will probably say “yes.”
Essentially, you’ve done most of the work for your child.
While you want your child to learn how to do the work themselves, you’ve got to give them a place to start. Kids who get knocked around socially have trouble getting their footing. By setting up a social event that has a high probability of going well you can get them on the right track.