Making Friends

Parent-to-Parent: How do You Help Your Child Make Friends?

Parents of children with attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD) reveal six easy ways to help kids form friendships that last.

Two girls with ADHD hugging
Two girls with ADHD hugging

Every parent wants her child to have good friends. Below are six strategies ADDitude moms and dads have used to help their sons and daughters diagnosed with attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD) make friends.

Play Matchmaker

“I encourage my son to make friends with older kids. They act like big brothers and sisters — yet they are still young enough to have lots of fun with.”
-Jennifer Rodriguez, Virginia

Find children who have similar interests. Not everyone is into baseball cards or fly-fishing, but I helped my kids find friends who are!”
-Eliza, Massachusetts

“What helped my daughter was wearing a shirt with a famous character on it. A girl started a conversation about the character, and they have been best friends ever since.”
-Eve, New York

Make Friends with Other Parents

“We told the parents of our son’s classmates about his social problems. Now they always remind their kids to include him in activities.”
-Marianne Dinsen, Denmark

Get Them Involved in Group Activities

Sign up for Girl Scouts. That’s all my daughter needs to keep her friendships going.”
-Lori, Connecticut

I keep my daughter involved in activities all year — dance, cheerleading, soccer, basketball, and church events. Leah manages to make at least one friend at each activity.”
-Lori Walter, Ohio

Organize Playdates

I organize a game day — cookie-baking, tie-dyeing, or another activity — and ask my children to invite friends over. This also gives me an opportunity to meet their parents.”
-Marisel Hernandez, New Jersey

“Throwing a big party for my daughter. Because her birthday happens to fall at the very beginning of the school year, I throw a party and invite all of her classmates. They get to know my daughter in our home setting, and I get to know the moms.”
-L. Anne Becker, Connecticut

Good Behavior Makes Good Friendships

“Teach your child what it feels like to be the other person — and to treat people the way she would like to be treated.”
-Amy, Florida

Teach code words for inappropriate behavior. Instead of critiquing my kids in front of their friends, I say the code word and shake my head. They get the hint.”
-Gina Acosta, Oregon

Give Your Kids Talking Points

“I taught my son to say hello first. I told him that a lot of people may be wishing he’d break the ice.”
-an ADDitude reader

We remind our son to call his friends. He often hyperfocuses on whatever he is doing and forgets to stay in touch.”
-Helene, New York