Children in general may have a hard time socializing due to being shy or unsure of how to interact with others. Kids with ADHD often have an even more difficult time trying to build friendships because they lack the social skills needed. However, you can help them build these skills.
The key to forming friendships hinges on being able to relate to the other person as well as listening and reacting in a loving, interested way. The symptoms of ADHD often hinder this. The disorder often prevents children from seeking out new friendships.
The number one mistake parents with ADHD children make is isolating children from their peers. This is the worst thing a parent can do. Isolating a child because “you” are afraid of their behavior or what might happen will only make the child shy away from going out to socialize and meet other children. Essentially, you are unintentionally projecting your own insecurity and taking away any confidence the child may have.
To keep this from happening, join an ADHD support group for parents and build your resources and support system, just like you will want your child to do. There are many of these groups in every state. Then, plan and attend a play date with other children, including those who have ADHD. Make sure your child interacts with all children whether it is on a school playground, neighbors or another child in the family. The more interaction the more at ease the child will be when meeting new friends.
Help your child start making friends by introducing one new friend at a time and seeing how the child reacts. If there is one-on-one interaction, the child with ADHD may be able to focus their attention and not get easily distracted if there is too much activity going on around them.
Watching on the sidelines is the best way to observe how your child is doing. If you stand over them they will feel uneasy and may get frustrated. If you do witness inappropriate behaviors by your child, then you can take them aside and explain the reason why their behavior is inappropriate. It is also important that the parent of the new friend knows your child has ADHD so they can be better prepared if an altercation takes place with their child.
The activities your child and their new friend are involved in should be something fast-paced and where other children can also participate. Children with ADHD are more likely to stick with an activity they can manage on their own as well as share an interest in with other children. Structured sports are an example of an activity that ADHD children have difficulty with because of problems remembering and following the rules.
Consider hosting an art inspired party where your child’s imagination and creativity can shine. Or just simply take them to the park where they can pick and choose what they want to do and also interact with other children who are doing the same things. Children are more likely to strike up a friendship with other kids that enjoy the same kinds of things.
Providing a place where children can interact opens up a whole new world for them. It also helps to rid you of your fears as well as allows you to see your child in a new light. Social skills are important, not only for your child’s behavioral health, but for their social and emotional health as well.