Ask the Experts

Q: My Son Smothers New Friends and Gets Devastated by Rejection

How to make new friends is not clear or easy for boys with ADHD, who might smother new friends by turning their hyperfocus on the relationship — thus scaring away other kids. Here, learn how to help your child ease into friendships.

Listen to “The Social Lives of Boys with ADHD”

Q: “My son has a propensity to smother other boys when he makes a new friend. He goes overboard, so the friends tend to pull away and then he feels very rejected and makes self-defeating comments. How can we help him?”

A: “Kids with ADHD tend to be sensitive in general. They feel emotions stronger. They feel a lot of empathy for others… So they find a new friend, then smother him because they are so excited to have a new friend and they don’t want to lose him. They do this, in part, because they have trouble with perspective taking and how they appear to others…”

Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.

Submit your questions about ADHD in boys here!

Updated on June 6, 2019

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