Does your ADHDer come home from school and tell you no-one wants to play with him/ her?
Does your ADHDer battle to keep friends?
Does your ADHDer not get invited to parties?
The simple truth is that ADHDers battle with all interpersonal relationships, from their parents to their teachers and everyone in between, and this makes it very hard for ADHDers to make and keep friends, no matter how old they are.
An ADHDer doesn’t pick up on simple social cues like the rest of us do. They don’t notice body language or pick up vocal cues and they often misunderstand jokes.
Their brains run at a mile a minute and rather than follow the current conversation they’ve leapt ahead 6 steps, but no-one else knows how they changed topics because it all happened in their heads.
They are often loud and talk too much. They get restless and irritable, and quickly lose interest in what’s going on around them. They don’t stick to the rules and they battle to wait their turn, which can cause a game to nreak up without your ADHDer realising why. ADHDers can also act out and lose their tempers.
Sadly, this all gives them a bad reputation with their peers. The kids your ADHDer goes to school with have moms, who hear about the kid at school that no-one wants to invite because he breaks things, or he’s a bully, or he doesn’t play nice.
I would strongly suggest that you help your ADHDer make- and keep- friends.
For more in-depth social strategies, you could speak to your child’s doctor or therapist.
But you can do simple things to help your child. Things that won’t even sound like much.
Arranging one-on-one play dates for your ADHDer with children you may see him playing with when you fetch him from school, or kids you hear your ADHDer talking about can do your ADHDer a lot of good. Ask your child’s teachers for parents’ phone numbers, or ask them to pass your phone number on to children’s parents who may be willing to arrange play dates with you. Perhaps you can ask your child’s teacher to put you in contact with other ADHDer parents.
Be prepared to drive your child to friend’s houses, to fetch and carry his friends if they don’t live around the corner. Try to arrange play dates at your house, where your ADHDer can feel “safe” in his own space. Try to keep an eye on the play without interfering, so that you can give your ADHDer small cues if he starts getting too loud or can’t wait his turn. You can develop signals or keywords you can use with your ADHDer in social settings so that he won’t be embarrassed, like asking him to turn the volume down if he starts getting excitable and loud in stead of asking him to keep quiet.
You might want to consider telling the mom you arrange a play date with that your child has ADHD, and that he battles with socialising. Remember that information is power, and her having a heads-up, if she is willing to have an open mind, will enable her to pause for thought should something happen.
Learning and mastering social cues takes time, and takes extra time with ADHDers. But they can make and keep friends with your help.
Do you have any more suggestions?