Reply To: friends for 12 year old girl with ADHD

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Wow, I could have written this myself. My daughter has the exact same issues and it is so hard. My daughter is in 9th grade now. Look, everyone says to do the same old things … invite kids over, put your kids in extracurriculars, etc. etc. but the fact is that if they don’t like your kid, this doesn’t work. My kids hated extracurriculars even in other towns because she couldn’t connect with the girls there, either. It was hard for me to accept that a lot of people really don’t like my daughter. I love my daughter more than life itself, and it breaks my heart to know that she is disliked by so many people. But her behavior is a challenge for me too … and kids don’t give second chances like moms do. Look, I tried. The big parties. Bringing pizza to practices. Making her join clubs. Things often backfired for us. I brought pizza, they said she was “showing off” … I took a girl to a concert, they said my daughter was “spoiled/snobby.” I felt like she couldn’t win and I couldn’t win. I grew angry. Desperate. I hated feeling the way these girls were making us feel. It’s sad, because our girls’ worlds get smaller and smaller as they clash with or are excluded by people at school, camps, etc. You would do anything to take away the pain but all you can do is to build up their esteem and try to get them to measure their worth not by what these people think but by what they think about themselves. My daughter says girls think she’s weird and a loser. Over the years, there have been times she’s had good friends but inevitably something happens and she’s alone again. If I could talk to myself three years ago RIGHT NOW … I’d say, support your daughter with everything you have … but also accept that her experience might not look like you want it to, and that can be OK. If you are on the roller coaster with her, get off now … because you have to be her ride attendant who guides her on and off vs. the one in the seat next to her strapped in. I would try to get your daughter into group therapy. My daughter was in a girls’ group and that helped her immensely. I have also been in therapy myself and have gotten on medication, largely to help myself deal with my daughter’s situation. A mantra that really helps me is: “In this moment, everything is fine.” Because in most moments, everything IS fine. Is my daughter invited to parties? Not much. But we’ve accepted that and I’ve given her a million cool experiences outside of school. Because THAT I can control. And I know that everything my daughter has been through has made her stronger. I’d take it away if I could, but I can’t. At times, I’ve been overwhelmed about her friendship situation. But my therapist recommended I just focus on ONE thing … continue to advocate for my daughter. That’s the only thing I HAVE to do and I will never stop doing that until I die. Everything else will play out how it is supposed to for our daughters, and we will be there to guide them through whatever life throws their way. Look, obviously, I hope your daughter gets an amazing best friend and everything works out exactly how we all hope for our girls. But I guess what I am trying to say is that for me, it didn’t go that way (not yet, anyway), and I’m still OK. Or OK-ish, I guess, most days. And I wish I could have told my “sixth grade mom” self to relax a little bit and realize that everything will be OK and that my daughter will still be OK even if she is excluded or doesn’t have many or any friends. It will be hard, and it will suck, but she will still be fine because you are there for her, and you are both stronger than you can even imagine.