Deb Toering is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with a wide range of client populations and presenting issues, Deb is also an engaging public speaker. She has spoken in front of various groups across a range of topics including marriage, bullying, ADHD/ADD, and teen leadership.
Navigating the world of friendship begins to feel more overwhelming as our children reach middle school. If your child has ADHD, the journey is even more complicated. Symptoms of ADHD like fidgeting, impulsivity, and distractibility, are not friendly companions to a middle school conversation.
These are symptoms that are not easily controlled. The ability to listen without interrupting may be hindered by the distracted ADHD mind that is going in many different directions. Good conversational skills include a give and take rhythm and the ability to stay on topic. If a child talks too much without listening, interrupts others, or is not paying attention, they can be viewed as not caring, selfish or rude.
What’s a parent to do? It is heartbreaking to have your child report that he is feeling left out of former circles of friends. Invite another child over for an activity; perhaps one who is a bit younger so that they are social equals. Observe from afar the interactions so that you can see what might be going wrong. Role play other ways the interactions could have gone.
Children need to know that social skills take time to learn and must be practiced. We are all growing in our ability to communicate, resolve differences and initiate with new people. Your job as a parent is to model healthy friendships, observe your child’s interactions with others, coach, reward progress made, and if necessary, consult with aprofessional counselor who understands ADHD.