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ADHD at School

ADHD daughter having trouble keeping friends

My 9 yr old daughter is having a problem with a friend.  She finally found another girl who she had things in common with this year, she was a tomboy like my daughter, liked sports, didn’t like dresses….etc, but a few months ago she stopped playing with my daughter and is playing with another girl in class.  My daughter feels really sad and keeps asking her to sit by her at lunch, and the other girl will reply that she doesn’t want to sit by her because she chews with her mouth open, my daughter told her she didn’t know she did that and would stop, the girl said well I still don’t want to sit by you, she has been running away from my daughter and recess with this other girl, telling my daughter that she asks to many questions and talks to much, and still my daughter wants to be her friend.

My questions are, how can I get her to stop trying to be this girls friend, because obviously this girl doesn’t want to be friends with my daughter anymore, and that breaks my heart because my daughter is so sweet and is always thinking about others, she keeps writing her friend notes at school and coloring her pictures because she just wants to be her friend so bad again :/  Also, when she makes a friend, how can I get her to keep them without the ADHD symptoms getting in the way and annoying the other girls?


It is heartbreaking when this happens but it is part of life. Try to get your daughter involved in after school activities such as Girl Scouts, a team sport, or maybe an art class.

Posted by Lisa W. on Apr 04, 2014 at 6:55pm

This is difficult for you and for her.

When I was a teenager I noticed that the girls were most interested in the guys who showed disdain. The polite, bright, eager, over- anxious approach didn’t seem to have much traction. Often, when we pursue, we chase folks away. The wanting has a life of its own and is a source of immense power to the wanted.

So, as a strategy you could teach her that being independent, interested in other things, interested in other activities is a good strategy to make her friend more interested in her company. At this age the strategy may not work but it may take away some of the pain and help her to actually grow toward more independence.

I appreciate your wisdom in not blaming the friend at all. I recommend brief, matter-of-fact empathy but no sympathy. Sympathy would exaggerate the problem as it most often does.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Apr 04, 2014 at 8:09pm

klsmidwestmom, I can relate 100% my daughter would make friends and they were turn and be mean to her and bully her.  You have to build and work on your daughter’s self esteem. I know parents have recommended to me books from American girl that help with making friends and books to help with self esteem. 

I know for my daughter we did 3 years of socialization therapy that helped.  What helped us also was that my daughter joined ice skating and began making friends with many girls that attended.  Having your daughter go to areas where other children are help. 
I hope things work out for you and your daughter.

Posted by happynewyorker on Apr 05, 2014 at 12:19am

My daughter has just been through this too. She is also nine. It is heartbreaking. She is just coming out the other side. She has, with my encouragement, gradually found other girls to play with, but it has taken several months and a lot of support. I talked about it with her teacher so he knew what she was going through and he put her in a “friendship” support group at the school run a member of staff. It’s a vicious circle as they get all intense about wanting a friend but it can scare kids off. We have done a lot of talking and she has needed a lot of reassurance and was quite clingy for a while. Hopefully your daughter can find a new friend, perhaps a better match in character.

Posted by Janeybee on Apr 06, 2014 at 3:01am

Nine and ten year old girls can be incredibly mean. My daughter and niece, both neuro-typical, struggled immensely with social issues and friendships at that age. Adding ADHD issues just amplifies it.

You received two great suggestions above—American Girl books are awesome, my daughter read and benefited from many (body book, friendships, middle school were a few of these books that helped her).

I also agree with what John said, the more she pursues this former friend, the more she is likely pushing her away. It’s human nature to want what we can’t have and your daughter should pull back and try not to show her interest so much anymore. I know that’s easier said than done. These social issues are so hard for our kids with ADHD because they just don’t understand all the unspoken intricacies of relationships.

There are a couple articles over on that will help you guide your daughter in this area as well. This one is a personal story:, and this one has tips to help your child make and keep friends:

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 07, 2014 at 4:24pm

Thank you for the advice everyone. I am going through the same thing with my 8 year old. The last time we had her in an after school program, she still didn’t make friends beacuse she was “trying to hard”. As mentioned here earlier, she methods chased other kids away.

But luckily, she has a lot of friends in our neighborhood. They do not attend the same school as my daughter, so we’ll continue trying to help.

Posted by not2day on Apr 09, 2014 at 1:57am

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