July 26, 2018 at 8:35 pm #89492momof2Participant
My 10 year old son has ADHD and no friends. He was diagnosed with ADHD in the 2nd grade, and had a history of aggressive and physical behavior since he was 4. He has always had a huge personality, full of life and excitement, but over the past year I have really seen that light grow dim – which makes me extremely sad. He always had a few friends at school, but over the past 2 years the other kids have grown up emotionally and he is still very immature for his age. Last year his best friend moved away, leaving him with virtually no friends when the school year started. He does not get asked on play dates, or to birthday parties at all. Once in a while he gets included in some neighborhood activities, but those are starting to dwindle as the kids get older.
We are in summer now, and I have enrolled him at some day camps. He has really improved in terms of physical behavior, but he still struggles with social behavior at times. He gets angry when things aren’t done his way, and he accuses others of doing things to him (I think he interprets situations incorrectly some of the time). Today he came home upset and told me that the only people that like him is his family, and that he just wants to lay on his bed in his room for the rest of the summer:(.
I really want to try and help him, I just don’t know how. I read about different types of therapies, but when I go looking for them locally it’s impossible to get an appointment or they charge $300 an hour and do not take insurance! At school he is on an IEP and Behavior Plan. At the end of the past school year they had him in a social skills class ( learning to interpret others non-verbal cues) but that was at the very end of the year and I think they met 2 or 3 times, so I don’t think it was all that helpful! He cannot be on stimulant medication due to another health condition, so that is not the answer.
I am really worried for him. I want this year to be a better school year. It is his last year of grade school, and I cannot imagine what it will be like for him to enter middle school in his current state. He will be even more ostracized and lonely.. not to mention the target for bullying!
If anyone has similar experiences and examples of what has worked I would love to hear.
July 27, 2018 at 6:29 am #89502nessyParticipant
I’m so sorry to hear that. I haven’t been in that situation completely, as my daughter is almost 7 and hasn’t yet had the same amount of rejection your boy has so far accrued. 🙁
There’s so much info available online- if you have Pinterest, you can also find info/helps/charts about teaching kids about emotions, self-regulation, social skills, etc. to help him grow his social ability and self-regulation skills. One thing I have found helpful with my ADHDer is role-playing. We have puppets that we role-play emotional situations (imagined or real situations) and we take turns practicing things like sharing, learning how to verbalize what you want/how to express your feelings, what to do when you’re angry, sad, scared, etc.
Also, what about ADHD groups? Find your people! (We just moved and I have yet to find my people). Find local parents with kids with the same issues. Lol It’s so, SO encouraging to be with another Mom who experiences the same things you do- and who doesn’t bat an eyelash at your child when she sees him acting out in ADHD ways. Try looking on Meetup, or check Facebook for ADHD groups.
Last bit of advice, help him find a hobby- or something he can hyperfocus on that excites him- does he like knights and horses? Is he into geology? Drawing/painting? Sports? Science? Building/engineering? Creating? Acting? Cars? Dancing? Bikes? Animals? Is there something he’s shared with you that could be like a project you two (or the family) does together? What about recycling together? You guys can go around and gather recyclables and then turn it in for an ice cream trip! Or what about geocaching? De-cluttering and donating- ADHD kids feel things deeply- and I’ve found them to have such generous hearts. Extend the donating to volunteering together in some way. Basically, what motivates your little guy? Get creative and ignite him with a spark of inspiration and run with it! Even if it sounds outlandish or impossible- do your best to encourage him to be creative and take the lead. If it’s an absolutely unrealistic goal, refrain from ‘no’ but re-frame it through a positive direction- like, if he says “let’s build a tree house!” And right away you think ‘but we can’t afford the wood, nails, tools, etc’ instead of voicing that and turning him down, say something like ‘that would be so fun!! Since we can’t really afford to buy everything we need, how do you think we could get ahold of materials for free? What kinds of things can we use for a roof, wall, door, etc?’ And don’t forget to incorporate your own ideas- try looking for supplies to re-use- Craigslist, salvage yards, stuff people leave beside their trash cans for trash day, etc.
And, if it ultimately turns out to be impossible, like say your boy says he wants to ride a unicorn (yes, I have a daughter haha so this really happened) don’t be so quick to snap him back to reality- daydream with him a bit. No one knows you can really have a pink unicorn to ride on, but everyone can imagine right? Can you imagine how it would feel to have the wind rushing through your hair? To feel fast and free? And what if the unicorn could fly?!?! Wouldn’t flying me amazing? Where would you fly?… etc etc. Taking mental trips can feel just as exhilarating as actually doing the thing you’re imagining about.
I hope that made sense. Lol I kinda wish I were on a flying pink unicorn right now. Anyways, a perk to ADHD is that they can most times be easily re-directed. They get down or sad often, but if you invite them to think a certain way or feel a certain way and you make it fun, they usually hope on board pretty quick.
July 27, 2018 at 6:40 am #89504nessyParticipant
Ugh! I literally just spent half an hour writing a response and now I don’t see my original post at all after I edited it to fix an incorrect word!!
Sorry, you get the cliff notes now. 🙁
I was suggesting to check online and Pinterest for how to teach your son about emotional regulation and recognition. And learning how to develop social skills.
Help him find a hobby he can hyperfocus on, or find a project you two can do together.
At the very least, ignite his imagination and pre-tend play.
I’m sorry this post sucks. My first one was awesome, more detailed and just flat out much more fun than this. I wish I could re-write it in its entirety, but I too have ADHD and actually have been trying to do something else for a while now haha but got swept down the ADHD rabbit hole and Lord knows how I managed to end up on this forum and proceed to spend half an hour on it when I had zero intentions.
Good luck and keep your head up! So long as his familial relationships are strong, he’ll grow to be resilient- and resilience is a crucial character trait to being well adjusted.
July 27, 2018 at 8:28 am #89507JBoomParticipant
There are non-stimulant medications available. And, nuerofeedback has shown some promise. You do have medical options that can help along the way, which will make therapeutic options much more possible. There are articles about these options on this site, dig around.
July 27, 2018 at 3:43 pm #89606Penny WilliamsKeymaster
The gap between our kids and their peers is super tough, especially around ages 10-14 when it widens a lot. My son didn’t have real friends until 8th grade, age 13-14. It sometimes just takes longer to happen for our kids.
The best thing you can do is get him involved in activities and clubs around things he’s really good at, interested in, or passionate about. That will help overcome some of the social awkwardness when they have similar interests. And let him hang out with younger kids too — that’s okay.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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