Does your ADD Student have friends? All they real friends or just temporary ones?
Some kids with Attention Deficit Disorder can have trouble making and keeping friends.
Social anxiety, which can occur along with ADHD, can prevent a child from making friends. Or with some kids (my son was one) social anxiety causes them to make friends with the kids that no one else will be friends with. Those kids are seen as being “safe” – they don’t have any friends so they are less likely to reject an offer of friendship. I call this “bringing home strays”. Some kids grow out of it as they get older (my son, thank goodness) and others never really do.
Sometimes a lack of friends is due to the child’s personality, or more specifically, the way their ADD symptoms manifest. A child that is too hyper, interrupts too much or has extreme behavior of any kind will often find it hard to keep friends.
And sometimes it’s not the child so much as their friend’s parents. You know that your ADD child can be difficult to manage at times; sometimes the parents of friends find it too much to handle and discourage the friendship.
If your child is having trouble making or keeping friends, you need to look first at the underlying reason. And be honest here. Sugarcoating or blaming others just won’t help.
I remember a little girl in my daughter’s class in elementary school. Her mother came to me in tears, asking what was wrong with her little girl because no one would play with her. I applaud that mom’s courage to see the truth in order to help her daughter.
If your child is having trouble making friends, try arranging one on one play dates with a child that you think might get along with yours. Be sure to stay close by and observe. Maybe even invite the mom over too, so that the two of you can talk and get to know one another. If you have a friend with a child the same age as your ADD Student, start there.
If your child is bringing home strays or choosing friends who are much younger than they are, you need to step in. These friendships are to be discouraged in most cases. Usually a child who hangs out with much younger children is uncomfortable among their peers. The maturity level of ADD kids can be 3-5 years behind their actual age, so in a way it makes sense that they would choose friends who are younger. It’s important, though, that they have friends their own age.
School is where most kids make friends and sometimes you’re lucky enough to have neighbors with kids the same age who might friend one another. If that’s not working for your child you need to seek out other places. Sometimes kids with ADHD get a reputation as being troublesome at school and that can carry over to the neighborhood.
Try activities like scouting, sports, and church groups.
Friendships are an important part of life. Help your child learn how to make and be a good friend.