Ask the Experts

Son Acts Withdrawn

“My 10-year-old son is very withdrawn and acts depressed in social situations. When an adult speaks to him or asks his name, he just mumbles and won’t look them in the face. His father and I have told him how this embarrasses us and have practiced social skills with him. He seems so sad at times and we want to help him. Any suggestions?”

Many people with ADHD also struggle with depression. ADHD wears people out and can sometimes take a toll on one’s self esteem. This combination often can lead to depression, which can make many reluctant to engage in social interactions.

I recommend having your son evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist for depression. It will be important to understand the reasons for his sadness and withdrawn behavior before effective social strategies can be developed to help him. Given your description of his behavior, it does not appear to be a skill deficit problem.

As you anticipated, it is best to avoid putting pressure on him by emphasizing how his behavior embarrasses you. It is important to realize that this is not a personal reflection on you or your competence as a parent. It sounds like he needs love and acceptance as you all work through whatever emotional issues he may be feeling. I wish you well.

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