She has no friends and wants to change schools

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    • #69746

      Hello all, I’m new here. My daughter is 9 years old and has real trouble making and keeping friends at school. Most of the kids in her class don’t want anything to do with her … she has difficulty controlling her temper and sees every little transgression from other kids as a major insult and a reason to start yelling. I’m really not surprised that most kids just want to stay away from that.

      This afternoon I picked her up from school and she was crying. She says everyone hates her, and she wants to change schools. Changing schools is not really an option for us because we go to an excellent charter school that was difficult to get into, and the teachers there are all really wonderful and understand her like I don’t think teachers in the mainstream school system would. Plus she has three siblings in that school, and changing just one of them would be really disruptive for the whole family. And finally I’m not sure that she wouldn’t end up alienating all the kids in her new school as well … and that would make a switch pretty much pointless.

      Does anyone have any advice for helping her through this? I’ve thought about a daily after school activity, maybe, where she can meet new kids … but we’re kind of struggling financially right now and I don’t know how we could manage that. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • #69936
      Penny Williams

      Get her teachers and the school counselor involved. Part of the counselor’s job is to help socially-challenged students. Her teachers and the counselor need to be aware of how she’s feeling at school, and need to work to help her facilitate 1-2 friendships.

      You are right that getting her involved in an activity she enjoys will help ease the impact of her social awkwardness. What about something like scouts that’s nearly free to participate in? Or start of join a weekly club in something she’s interested in. Similar interests really help to mitigate some of the social hurdles.

      Will My Child Ever Have a Best Friend?

      Another important piece is to work on improving her social skills and the actions that inhibit her relationships. You can work on emotional awareness and regulation with a program called The Zones of Regulation, right at home. And use some behavior modification to change her reaction to anger and frustration:

      “How I Helped My Son Stop Hitting Classmates”

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

    • #69964

      We struggle with this too. Like you, my son goes to a top notch charter school. We’ve also been in mainstream schools and if anything, the peer relationships were worse. I agree with Penny, get the teachers and the counselors involved. There is one teacher at my son’s school that has taken a particularly active role in trying to incorporate my son into different peer groups. He’s a “favorite” among the students, so he kind-of acts as a mediator of sorts. If nothing else, I know my son feels less alone during free times because he has that teacher to talk to.

      Scouts has been heaven sent to us. It does have some costs associated with it, but those costs are minimal – and there are several “types” of kids in a troop, so we’ve found a couple our son can relate too. And the leadership in the troop has been great.

      Also, we’ve sought out kids in the neighborhood. These are kids that are typically a little younger than him, that don’t go to his school, that are more than happy to ride bikes or run around with him for a few hours a few times a week. The neighborhood friends seem to help fill the gap, so even though he doesn’t have any friends at school he knows he has some friends waiting to ride bikes with him after school.

      I also agree with Penny on working on emotional awareness and social skills at home. Just like we teach table manners at home, it’s important to work on social skills too. My son used to throw a huge temper tantrum if he lost a game, so we started doing family game night or his Dad would start playing a game with him on the XBox and we’d work on our emotional response when we’d lose. He soon started showing improvements at school.

      Another free activity might be a local park when the weather is nice. Kids usually play really nicely together for short periods of time and that might give her a nice outlet to work on social skills for brief periods of time.

    • #70527

      Mom in Wisconsin raising her hand and saying “I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM!” Unfortunately my 10 year old son’s impulsive/angry responses to small frustrations has made our experience at his current school exhausting to say the least.

      The school counselors/principal/teachers have been very supportive, fortunately. Unfortunately, this is a small private school community and we have effectively been made outsiders. My son has one good friend (I reassure him that one great friend is an important thing to have,) but he is SO personable and perceptive and wants more friends. It seems as though the damage has been done and sadly my son has made a name for himself. In short, kids play with him at school, but he doesn’t get any playdates/invites to parties.

      Scouting has been a huge part of our family as well. In fact, I do not know how my kiddo would have done without Cub Scouts. As we are also on a budget, I recently joined our local YMCA so he would have activities (swimming, etc.) over the holiday break and in the new year that are low-cost. I also try to keep up with events going on in town through Facebook, so if there is a free event, we can invite his friend to come with or we can enjoy something as a family so he does not feel so lonely on the weekends. We have been there/done that with changing schools and even homeschooling. A job change forced us to relocate and remove him from the private school that he was thriving in.

    • #102700

      Hello.Firstly, make sure you are well in front of a deficit of attention. It certainly does not belong to the teacher to diagnose attention deficit, but you can and must raise questions. Make sure that a professional has recently examined the child’s eyesight and hearing and excluded any other medical problems. Make sure that you have done an adequate assessment. Ask yourself until you are convinced you have done everything. But the responsibility for all these examinations lies with the parents, not with the teacher who supports the process.
      Ask the child what can help him. Some children are often very intuitive. They can tell you, if you ask them, how they can learn better. They are often too embarrassed to give information without being asked, for fear of seeming too eccentric. But try to sit with the child alone, and ask him how he learns best. Often the child himself is by far the best expert of his learning. Surprisingly, most of the time, one ignores or neglects one’s opinions.
      Post the rules. Write them clearly and highlight them. The children will be reassured, knowing what is expected of them.
      These children do not tolerate transitions and unexpected changes. They quickly become confused. Take special care to prepare transitions well in advance. Announce what will happen, and then give repeated warnings as the time of the activity approaches.
      Repeat the instructions. Write the instructions. Discuss guidelines. Repeat the instructions. Repeat the instructions. These kids need to hear the same tips more than once.
      Eliminate or reduce the frequency of timed evaluations. These timed tests have little educational value and do not really allow children with attention deficit to show their knowledge.
      As much as possible, be sure to highlight any form of success. These children are experiencing so much failure that they need to be viewed in a positive way. This point can not be overemphasized; these children need and benefit from the praise we make of them. They like encouragement. They drink from it and emerge from it. Without this, they return to their shells and lose their vitality. Very often, the devastating side of AD HD does not come from the condition itself, but from the damage it causes to self-esteem. Also, it is necessary to lavish many encouragements and congratulations to these children.
      Help the child create a personal schedule that will follow school hours; you will thus prevent the “delivery to tomorrow” which characterizes the deficit of attention.

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