I have learned more about ADHD in the last several months than I ever thought that I would have to know. In talking with my son the other night, he started to tear up and start crying. The words hit me like a ton of bricks “Dad, I don’t have any friends.”
As a parent, I can not even begin to tell you how much my heart began to hurt. Words will never be able to truly describe that moment. I began to cry, but I also quickly thought to respond. I was able to reassure him that he did in fact have friends.
But the reality is simple, he doesn’t have many. So, I quickly found an article called Will My Child Ever Have a Best Friend? and this opening quote said it all:
Children with ADHD often invade personal spaces, blurt out rude comments, and play too rough — all of which makes it tough to keep friends.
This is it I thought! Exactly what I was thinking and feeling all wrapped up in once, because this is my son!
So, as some who that has to problem solve all day, I quickly thought through what can I do to help him? And the only way that I can help, is to create situations for him to be a better friend and to make new ones. I have contacted several of my friends that have kids and we are in the process of setting up play dates.
Is this going to help? Honestly, I don’t know, but I have to do something. As a parent, I have to do everything that I can to give him every opportunity to succeed and I wouldn’t be doing my job as his father if I did not try. We are signing him up also for a social skills class with other children that have ADHD as well, in hopes that he not only learns new coping skills but also to make new friends.
In the last year, I have seen a big change in my son and yes, medication is a HUGE factor. But I also think that he is learning more skills to cope with his outbursts as well. He isn’t jumping to accuse other kids and be so defensive. He is not being so fixated on something that he can’t get past situations and emotions.
Making friends as kids is already hard. Peer pressure. Differences. And to throw ADHD into the mix, it makes it harder. Not that it is something that he is not going to be able to overcome, but I think that it will help. My hope is that all of these things will help him establish friends and learn how to be a good friend to others.