My ADHD Son Only Has Younger Friends


My 13-year old attention deficit son prefers to play with children who are seven or eight years younger. He told me he relates better to them than to his peers. Is this appropriate?


Age-gap friendships are not unusual for ADHD children. Nor are social-skill deficiencies. Your ADD son prefers to be with younger children because he feels more “at home” with them than with peers. Younger children give your son an opportunity to shine in a social setting.

Showing off his social skills lifts his self-esteem. Help your son build on this, while developing his leadership skills. Look into organizations that offer mentoring to younger children.

To develop peer relationships, encourage your son to participate in a sport or after-school club. If relating to his peers is a problem, look for activities that don’t require a lot of teamwork -- track, chess, martial arts, and other individual sports are all good choices for ADHD children.

Writer, educator and advocate Mary Fowler is author of Maybe You Know My Child and Maybe You Know My Teen.
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