March 27, 2018 at 2:02 pm #80113
Hi,my 6th grader has ADHD, and has problems making and sustaining friendships. This has intensified in 6th grade, as the girls are starting to become more independent and peer-oriented. She takes metadate, sees a therapist, is a straight A student, and the teachers all tell us she is very focused in school, outgoing. But her ADHD makes her young emotionally, she has issues with blurting out things, personal space, reading emotional cues etc. In short, she doesn’t get asked on playdates (or hangouts as they are called now), and she is always inviting girls over and they usually say they are too busy. If they say yes, (and seem to have a good time) then they rarely invite her back. She’s on a sports team and does Girl Scouts, but the girls often ignore her there. At this time, she is starting to get sad and defeated. Not that this should matter, but she’s attractive and well dressed, so that’s not an issue. I’m at a loss of how else to help her, especially now that the girls are starting to make their own social arrangements via texting. The other girls exclude her in ways such that she knows she’s being excluded. For example, she asked one girl (Kate) to have a playdate after practice, and Kate said no, she had too much homework that afternoon. Later that day, my daughter got a phone call from another girl, and this girl and Kate were having a playdate! Somehow, they had to make up some excuse to call her so she’d know. It seems so cruel. There are other examples like that where the girls in the neighborhood who she walks to school with, plan activities and don’t include her, but will talk about those activities/sleepovers, etc. in front of her. I don’t know what to do.
March 27, 2018 at 11:58 pm #80162
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.
March 28, 2018 at 12:32 am #80165
I was 21 before I got stimulants and I was a 3.67 GPA in high school. Had some severe ADHD too. Try me 🙂
March 28, 2018 at 8:43 am #80172
Girls are more often than not mean at that age. It’s a sad reality. And it’s a tough age, on top of that.
What you have describe signals to me that she’s in the wrong friend group. She needs to find her tribe — girls that accept her for who she is and want to spend time with her. Try a different Girl Scout group until you find one that works better for her. Get her involved in other activities where she can meet kids who have similar interests/passions, which often softens the barrier of differences.
Keep reminding her that people who don’t treat her well are not good friends (their own flaws/weaknesses), and that is not a reflection on her, but of who they are. Remind her that she wants to be with people who treat each other with kindness and respect, like she treats her friends.
And it’s ok for her to make friends who are a little younger. They will be more aligned in maturity and social skills.
Here are some more insights:
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
May 30, 2018 at 9:14 am #85207
Thanks you all so much for the discussion above. I have struggled with this for years with my daughter, who’s currently 13 and entering 9th grade next school year. Middle school has been super challenging so it has lived up to its reputation in spades. One by one she seems to have lost good friend after good friend as her former friends move to more popular friend groups or get tired of my daughter’s impulse control issues. She’s had one “best friend” for nearly five years. This girl has been a total rock star, totally loyal and has stuck with my daughter through so much. Now even she is pulling away and my daughter is beside herself because she doesn’t understand why. As a mother this anguishes me enormously. We’ve tried so many things: medications, therapy, activities. She’s a talented singer and actress and that has helped her with self esteem but she’s a huge extrovert and wants to hang out with kids on the weekends and belong to a cool friend group like she perceives everyone else does. I just can’t understand why this is so hard for her. She’s a sweetheart. Cares so much for her friends. Her impulse control issues can be difficult to deal with no doubt but I think for my daughter it boils down to immaturity and not knowing how to relate to girls her own age. I kick myself for not holding her back because she has a late in the year birthday. I also kick myself for not befriending more of the kids’ mothers in her class, but quite honestly, they scare me and are fairly cliquey themselves. And I agree that social media has made this all the crueler by allowing kids to broadcast to the world who they’re hanging around with and what they’re doing on any particular occasion. It just makes the kids like ours feel even more isolated. But I love the message from mamaadd above that we might just need to accept some measure of this and just remember our primary purpose is to be there for them. It can be hard for me because I seem to soak in the same pain that my daughter feels so I just try to fight it…but it doesn’t help. Anyway, let’s keep talking. It soothes my soul to hear from other moms going through this. Hugs to you all.
May 31, 2018 at 12:29 pm #85303
July 11, 2018 at 4:34 pm #88125
I’d suggest hanging out with younger kids. My best friends growing up were always a year or two younger, and even now, as an adult, I prefer friendships with people who are about 5-10 years younger than me. I just fit in better; we have similar values and goals, as I’m not interested in settling down any time soon.
As a kid, it’s cool because the ADDer gets to be a leader and share the knowledge they’ve learned as an “older and wiser” person, when they normally feel like they’re at the back of the pack. It’s nice feeling like you have something to offer. Plus, the younger kids want to hang out with the cool older kid, and developmentally they aren’t leaps and bounds better at social skills.
That’s how I got through school. I eventually “caught up” and can now appropriately socialize with women my age, but I still prefer younger friends. They have more energy and can keep up with my silly shenanigans! 😀
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