Another girl without friends

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    • #85436

      My little girl just turned 9. She has very few friends and struggles so much socially. Does anyone know of books or youtube videos from girls with ADD who have put learning experiences out there on what they did to make things better. As a mom, I’m willing to work and talk and give advice, but what I wouldn’t give for a 20-year-old woman who knew the struggles of my 9-year-old and can assure her it will get better. Her lack of acceptance breaks my heart, but she lives in a world of black and white…so any tiny offense from a peer is the end of the world. I try desperately to get her to see the color grey, to understand that there are numbers in between 1 and 10 on a scale, but it’s either all or nothing. Someone is either nice or mean, a rule follower or a criminal…how do you teach a child to “go with the flow?” If anyone knows of books or videos I can share with my precious girl, I would really appreciate it. It’s hard to think you’re kid is alone in their world when she isn’t with you. 🙁

    • #85452

      Hi. I also have a girl with ADHD who is 9. Just an FYI I also think it’s the age. The girls in her class are always fighting. She’ll be angry at someone one day and cry about it at home and then the next day they are best friends. She’s even convinced me to keep her home a couple of times from school because she’s been so upset. I’ve kearbed my lesson and realized I was creating more of an issue by keeping her home. At first I would get very upset about this until I started asking around and found out that all the other girls were struggling with the same thing. Of coarse it’s harder for us because our girls have stronger feelings. I hear that things start to settle down by Middle School. I understand what you are saying though because my daughter just wants to vent with me not really come up with any solutions. Also the more upset I get about it the more upset she gets so I have to really try to keep a level head. (Which is hard because I also have ADD.) A female therapist could be helpful. Many will work on social skills or can just be that person other than mom to listen. Ive been looking for a meetup group of other girls with ADHD but have been unsuccessful. The American Girl doll company has soon great books on friendship that I know many of the girls her age have used. Growing up I had a few friends but was never extremely social. I’m still that way and perfectly happy. I try to follow my daughters changing interests and sign her up for extracurricular activities she enjoys which gives her social contact with peers as well. Also if she has a few friends that’s great. All you really need is a couple of friends. Can she get together with those girls or sign up for an after school activity with one of them? Try to strengthen those friendships. Also are there any other girls who are struggling socially. Maybe reach out to those girls? My best friend growing up was a boy. I rarely hung out with females. Now I have a couple of good friends and my husband and that works for me. I think for our guys we have to think out of the box and let go of neurotypical expectations. We are all unique individuals with different social needs. She’ll find her group. I’m struggling with my daughters strong feelings too. I think this is across the board for all girls this age though. We just get it more intensely because our girls feel things more.

    • #85456
      Latin teacher

      You asked about appropriate books. Two books for elementary school children with ADHD came out in 2016: Baxter Turns Down His Buzz by James M. Foley for ages 4-8 and What Were You Thinking by Bryan Smith. It is worth checking these out! Maybe your local library could order them so they could be used by other children too.

      It sounds like you have thought about this and have been trying different things for a while. Social skills are difficult to learn as peers reject others without giving feedback. What did her teacher say, regarding the exact reasons why other children have rejected her? Which social skills does her teacher recommend working on over the summer? Is she monopolizing conversations or the teacher’s time? Is she interrupting others or saying things that do not follow the conversation? Does she focus on herself and avoid listening to others? Is her energy level much higher than her peers? Does she wear-out emotionally and act-out when others are calm and engaged in the activity? These are just a few out of many specific skills she might need to learn.

    • #85500
      Penny Williams

      That very concrete, literal thinking is common with ADHD (and “high-functioning” autism). It takes a lot of time, but that can soften. My son is 15 now and does a lot better with at least trying to see and understand things that aren’t so literal. He can finally decode many figures of speech and recognize when a phrase isn’t supposed to be interpreted literally.

      When he was 6 or 7, I mumbled under my breath in the car one day, “You’re gonna be the death of me.” I was obviously frustrated over something. He heard me and cried for a long time. He said, “I don’t want to the be the person who kills you, Momma. I love you.” We are far from that level of literalness now, thank goodness.

      Jessica McCabe has a YouTube channel all about being an adult with ADHD. The videos are great! Also, there’s a website called ADDyteen started by a teen with ADHD (who is now a college student).

      “I Want to Shine a Light on ADHD”

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #85627

      Hey there meandb!

      My little girl isnt 9 yet but we struggle with emotional regulation also. One book I have found that has been helpful (sorry if someone already mentioned it, as I didn’t read all the responses) is called Smart but Scattered… and I can’t think of the author, but it talks about executive functions – which is exactly what is hindered in the child who is on the adhd spectrum. It helped me to identify my child’s mental/emotional/intellectual strengths and weaknesses. It also gave practical advice on how to work with your child to strength their weaknesses.

      On a personal note, you said your daughter sees everything in black/white- I’m not sure if you’re familiar with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), but a great deal of those undesireable hang ups can be combated with ‘talk therapy’. I wish I had the website that helped me understand this further so I could post the link for you, but I don’t. You’ll have to look it up. If you can’t get her to see a counselor, you might be able to learn some skills to help her work through her feelings by challenging her thoughts/attitudes, which will impact her behaviors and also her feelings.

      Sorry if I’ve left you confused.

    • #85628

      Ok so, I didn’t want to leave you stressed out with yet another thing, so I found the website for you:

      It’s a self help process. Of course the BEST thing would be to see a counselor, both for you and your daughter to understand what it’s all about, but I know not everyone has access to those resources or time (or whatever) so this, IMHO, is the next best thing. I hope it helps.

    • #86095

      This is my 10 year old daughter exactly. I think this black and white thinking becomes so obvious/apparent at this age because typical peers are progressing into the abstract (grays) at lightening speed at this age. My daughter is affected socially because of this and I’m even starting to see an academic impact because at this age they are expected to make inferences, connections and see different opinions. Prior to this age. all kids are relatively concrete in their thinking. I don’t have the answers for you. I have my daughter in therapy and she has gotten a lot of social skill and language support in school but not enough to make a difference. So I have finally decided now is the time to switch to a school for kids with learning disabilities so she can get the “in the moment” social skills and language training. My hope is that finishing off elementary school and then middle school in this type of school will make a difference… and she won’t be the victim of bullying, which makes her anxiety even worse. Good luck.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by kapbrown.
    • #86159

      Yep. Been there with my now 15 year old. *It can get better!* I actually have never written a response to one of these, but truly felt your pain. It’s absolutely heart wrenching. Now my daughter has two groups(!) of friends. Not that my methods will work for everyone, but here’s what we did:
      1. Exactly what dnunez said, I looked for activities that would match my daughter’s interests. Mine ended up in a local children’s theater group. She only did one musical with them, but it was enough for her to understand that she would find “her people”. I still have her in activities that she’s interested in, and perfect example, she started a volunteer opportunity this week and it’s all girls her age. I told her to scope the room for “her people”…sure enough, there was another girl there with a NASA t-shirt on. My daughter went over and struck up a conversation. Nothing big, just, “hey I like your shirt!”.
      2. In the beginning, I arranged play dates for her and I orchestrated pretty much everything. For my daughter, when her ADHD is getting out of hand, I can hear it in her voice. So I would ask her to come speak to me if I knew she was getting annoying. (I hate to say it that way, but…) I would have her take deep breaths and tell her to look at the other kids’ faces. She needs to read the other kids’ faces and see if she needs to tone it down. I also set up activities where my daughter would have limited exposure – like, taking them to a movie, so that they could have fun together but it wasn’t an overwhelming period of time and she wasn’t up in their faces.
      3. When the neighborhood kids started coming around, I would literally do anything to keep them at our house. “Who wants pizza?!” Became my Friday night mantra. Yeah, it’s a bit of a bribe. But I figured it wasn’t time for me to stand on a moral high horse. I bought glow sticks. And water balloons. And light up balloons. And shaving cream for our swingsey slide to make it crazy. They played Ghost in the Graveyard and ate s’mores. And the running around was so good for my daughter.
      4. Now, we literally talk all the time. We’re at the age where she’s learning about more mature themes…the difference between black and white is pretty wide. We talk a lot about shades of grey (maybe use paint strip color samples as a demo tool?) and how making choices isn’t as easy as “yes or no” or “on or off”. We literally have social coaching mini sessions at least once a day. Maybe write on a paint strip…good friend at one end, bad friend at the other, and fill in in between so she can see that even nice friends can be inconsiderate from time to time.

      I’m lucky because mine still talks to me. I am also blessed to have someone that’s still willing to listen. But I definitely think there’s a lot of hope. We had some really, really tough years. I would say 3-5th grades were the absolute toughest. Things started looking up in 6th grade, and 7th and 8th were great. The summer between middle and high school, she went away to two camps, and went through a huge maturation period. She just finished her freshman year – with literally two groups of friends.

      I wish you good luck. I’ve been there and I know it hurts you just as much if not more. Best wishes.

    • #86161

      I am this little girl at 6 years of age. I was never diagnosed with ADHD because I was born in 1953 when ADHD was not even a diagnosis yet. I grew-up to be taunted and isolated from my peers. My mother was very young when she had me so she did not have the skills to understand what was going on. I grew up thinking it was me.

      Here I am now 65 years old. I have a masters degree and I have been a teacher for 23 years. Most of it has been in special education. I can tell you that if your child has a great special education teacher she can help your child with those social skills and she can give you advice on how your child can be helped at home. I do it a lot with my parents.

      It is not that hard to help a child who you know could grow up not knowing why people treat you so differently. I would also get your child into counseling. When a child can learn to explain their feelings it give them more power over their own self. It also gives them a chance to explain their feelings to their mother and father so they can understand and help them.

      I am a better communicator but I still have trouble with relationships. I have a wonderful man who has been great. He finds me to be smart, have a sense of humor, and a very caring/thoughtful person. That to me is all that matters. Your child will be stronger and better because you are a very caring person who wants the very best. You have excellent resources from what I can see from the comments on this topic. Relax and your child will welcome your self-assurance which will make a world of difference to them. Ragonzales

    • #86187

      Hi meandb. I was also like that and am now 61 years old and getting treatment. I grew up in a different time and a place where there were a ton of kids in my neighborhood. I managed to learn something from each of them about dealing with life and I got by, not well but I got by. I went through a lot of friends. Bear with me because I am going to suggest treatment as though she had some trauma. Not that she did, but what you describe is trauma in itself. Rather than wait until she is old and looks back at this as her trauma you could very well stop it now. It would require you learn the treatment and that she trusts you.
      The treatment is called “inner family” and there is a series of videos on you tube or just search for videos on yahoo or whatever you use. It takes a real effort to understand it but it is really helpful for someone that would like to change which parts of their personality shine. The basic premise is that the “family” is all the “selves” or “parts” of your personality that make up who you are. Sort of like sybil but in a safe and happy way. A good hint is that all of your parts are “good” and mean well. Giving them names and understanding what drives them lets people manage their personality in a way that was really fun for me. I had to watch about 6 hours of video before it clicked. I wish I had this 55 years ago. Wishing you the best.

    • #86191

      Gerlach was the name of the author for the you tube videos I found really helpful.

    • #86195

      I’m so sorry to hear that your daughter is having a hard time making friends right now. I agree with the comments above that the B/W thinking is very much related to her age. I have three teenage daughters and each had a different experience navigating friendships in elementary school. One day they have a BFF for life and the next day they are sworn enemies! I liken it to going on a roller coaster when you were told it was a Merry-Go_Round! I would want to rush to their aide and get to the bottom of the issue and then they would work it out on their own.
      I would email her teacher about how she is doing. Sometimes our kids paint a much different picture of what’s going on at school. By emailing their teachers, I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that my girls were doing just fine (and saving all the drama for me!)
      I would encourage you to keep a positive frame of mind. I am not discounting any sad feelings your daughter might have, but it truly might not be as bad as you think. I would also encourage her that to earn a friend we have to be a friend. Maybe someone in her class is needing a friend as well? Reach out to other Moms for park play dates (less pressure than going to each other’s houses)and keep her busy! The black and white thinking is hard, but it really is how most kids think at that age. (BTW – I have ADHD so does my youngest (age 12)

    • #86200

      Good day. I have the same predicament with my niece. She was diagnosed to have dyslexia and ADD when she was in the 2nd grade. I was always wondering and mad why she was always got picked and bullied in school.

      I noticed that she easily befriends with children she just met but after a while she was always left alone. I came to realize with the help of articles about her condition, nd one of these I read from this website that they really have problems making friends, making social connections. I just pray that someday if not in high school, possibly in college she may find even just one true friend who will accept her as she is. Group projects or extracurricular group activities are not for her, she is not good working with others but excels when she is on her own.

      I know that she is really longing to have one, but we cannot force it on just anybody. I just assure her that she will always have a friend in me no matter what, and I can her best friend for the time being. I always tell her, by my and her prayers she will find that one true friend.

      I feel what you go through seeing your child having difficulty making friends. She is lucky to have you.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by KMCOU.
    • #86205
      Annie M

      Mostly, I’m just here to thank all of you for making me feel understood for the first time in ages. The sting of rejection is tough for a kid, but it’s also tough for a parent to watch over and over. My bright, nerdy, 11-year-old son struggles with the all black or white thing, too, and he comes across too strong in new friendships. Peers tell him he’s stupid, not funny, and annoying. They tease him about his “anger management issues” right in front of me. I’m supposed to have all the answers, and sometimes, I just don’t know what to tell him.

      Supporting each other is important, and I’ve found that other parents of children with ADHD are helpful setting up short, supervised play dates. Even one or two a month is more than my son had before. The other thing that works for us is putting my son around kids 2-3 years younger than he is. He’s 11, but he fits in better with 8-year-olds. They don’t judge him the same way his peers do, and in fact, they think he’s funny and smart. Socially and emotionally, they’re in the same place.

      It sounds like girls get through this rough phase a few years sooner than boys. So, I’m hopeful that we’ll see improvement soon, at least in the way classmates treat my son. His own maturity may take more time.

      Hugs all around. Seriously. You all made me feel a lot more accepted for a few minutes.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Annie M.
    • #86125

      My ADHD daughter, when she was younger, was very polarized in her thinking . . . but it does improve with time and effort.

      See above for a link to a handout for black and white thinking in children: it has strategies you may want to try, an explanation about B&W thinking in children, and ways to cope.

      Also, ADHD brains take longer to mature . . . she wont’ be at the same rate as her peers but she will get there (see below for article).

      Grow Up Already! Why It Takes So Long to Mature

      Lastly, “Raising Your Spirited Child” Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is a great source for words of encouragement to use with your child — especially a child that may feel emotions more intently.

      One step at a time on the parenting road.

    • #86346

      My daughter is 11 and will be in 5th grade, but acts like she’s 8. She has never been invited to a sleepover at someone’s else’s house. I’ve texted girls moms she mentions that she likes, but normally say “they’re busy” or something to that effect.

      I’m currently trying to get her a play date with a new girl who also has ADHD. I’m hoping she can finally find a friend. My daughter also has ODD which has its own problems. And yes, she is on medication.

      So I wind up with major mommy guilt. I feel like I’m letting her down. I understand what you’re going through meandb.

    • #86501

      Hi! I am an 18year old girl with combination type adhd, and I struggle with making friends. However, it’s gotten waaaaaay better since I was your daughter’s age. Back then I only had a few real friends (though I tried to be friendly with everyone). In middle school I made a few groups of friends. Over the years I lost some and gained some. In high school I transferred to a new school. I made a few groups of friends. Again, I lost some and gained some. The worst was probably when a whole group of people, including someone I considered one of my best friends, essentially told me that they didn’t want me there. It was hard for a while, especially since they were who I sat with at lunch, but I moved on. Now I’m going to college in the fall and I’ve already made new friends. I have a lot of anxiety about losing them, but for now they seem to like me. Point is, it may be difficult for your daughter, but it will get better.

    • #86523

      My favorite book for children with special needs is Special People, Special Ways. It is not specifically about ADHD. Rather it highlights that everyone has something and that we are all the same and deserve to be cherished and respected. Although it’s written for ages 4-7, as many kids do she may enjoy talking about the pictures and elaborating on the text.

      My son as well as my students have struggled over the years socially due to a variety of reasons including cognitive rigidity, limited perspective taking, emotional dysregulation, executive functioning deficits (e.g., self control, flexibility, disorganization), receptive and expressive language disorders, low self-esteem and anxiety. I recommend the following books: Socially ADDept, Smart but Scattered, Sarah Ward’s EF work/Cognitive Connections, Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum, and Zones of Regulation. I also recommend the Growth Mindset (teaching resilience, taking risks, FAIL=first attempt at learning, “marvelous mistakes,” resilience and “grit,” and working collaboratively) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from a young age to frame/reframe thoughts. Foster your child’s special talents, which will build self-esteem but also provide opportunities for making friends who share the same interests.

    • #87001

      Dealing with same issue with 10 year old. She started Guanfacine about 6 months ago and is much better now. Still issues, but improved grades and social abilities.

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