New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

ADHD in Boys

Middle School Friendships

My 11 yr old son has severe ADHD.  He takes Adderall and it does help a lot with school work but socially he constantly tries to be funny and show off when he is with his peers.  He has a lot of surface friends but I think most of the time he tends to annoy people and so he doesnt really have any “close” friends. Ive tried to coach him to tone it down a little and that he has to nurture friendships and compromise.  Ive told him he cant always be “on” because it turns people OFF!  On the weekends he spends a lot of time alone and with his 5 yr old brother because no one really calls to ask him to hang out.  He just texted me from school and said he was bummed because he feels like he doesnt have any friends. :-(  Im not sure what else I can do to help him.  Any suggestions?  Maybe I just need to let him figure it out on his own but its so hard.  Im thinking maybe he needs a therapist and that he might listen to them more than taking advice from his parents?


You might want to research the rec centers in your area and/or events going on in your area. Libraries over things for tweens, teens, etc. Also go to and choose a group where other parents meet together in your area with their kids. Karate classes, etc. is a great way to meet friends.

Posted by vabronxboogie on Nov 12, 2013 at 1:02am

First, I totally understand what you’re going through. I have a 15 year old with ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome. He has never had more than 1 friend his entire school years and he’s a freshman in high school. There’s two parts to this - how is your son? Does he seem depressed about it, is it really affecting him? If you think so then I would suggest getting a therapist, someone he could talk to that might give him ideas on how to make friends, what behaviors he might change, what it takes to keep friends, etc. Part two - if he doesn’t seem like it’s affecting him that much, you can facilitate ways for him to make friends, find groups, activities, classes that he has an interest in so he may have a “friend in common”. My son made a new friend when he was in a study class with students who were like him. It’s hard I know, especially when they get in high school and you think they should be out hanging with their friends. But if it’s something that your son really wants as he matures he may figure out on his own how to make new friends. Good luck to you.

Posted by mom2ablt on Nov 12, 2013 at 1:10am

I find that my 9year old son w/ADHD does really well with 1 on 1 situations so we try to focus on only 1 friend at a time for any given social event.  I also try and find/suggest activities that I know will not overwhelm him socially.  For example, inviting a buddy to the movies or to the park.  I also set up the gatherings for short periods of time and then extend if things are going well…for example, go to the park and if everything is going well, then we may grab a bite to eat with the friend, etc.  If it feels like things are going south, then you try and end on a positive and not let things drag on and get worse.  I try to coach my son on the day of the event in terms of problem behaviors and I always let him know all the great things he did when he’s with his friends.  So, really highlighting (after the fact) what makes him such a good friend.  Kids don’t want to be criticized…they feel bad enough as it is…so I try to really look for the good and highlight that.  And I always give him hope.  If things aren’t going well, I encourage him to do his best and remind him that he’s learning something new. Like anything in life, confidence comes with practice and success.  Not all social interactions will go well - for any of us.  The key is to keep at it and note the times he is successful and encourage him based on this successs.  One last thing to note…I give my son alot of space during his time with friends.  Even though I’m close by, I do not get involved in thier discussions.  I bring a book to read or I listen to music.  I’m paying attention to what’s happening but I also want to communicate to my son that I have faith in his abilities.  He seems to really appreciate this.  Good luck!

Posted by Nica on Nov 12, 2013 at 2:50am

I can SO empathize with you. My oldest son lives with ADHD and has similar peer difficulties. He is turning twelve this week and I can honestly say he would probably like a true friend for his birthday above anything else. He is an amazingly bright and creative young man with a heart of gold. He truly cares about everyone he meets and he is very respectful and polite yer he struggles to keep the friends he makes. It absolutely breaks my heart to see him get rejected again and again. I have “studied” him with “surface” friends and all I can see is his ADHD manifests itself in some immature behaviors. He tends to talk more than his same age peers and acts hyper in comparison. The older he gets the more evident it is that he is a few years behind socially. To make matters more challenging he loved science, technology, etc. and has NO interest in sports.

Posted by Kaylee74 on Nov 12, 2013 at 6:13am

Ugh, as soon as I read “Middle School Friendships” my heart sank into my stomach.  I am going through this exact same thing with my son.  Eleven years old, in 6th grade, and zero real friends.  He’s so depressed about it. He behaves the same way your son does (If I didn’t know better I would have thought I wrote this).  I wish I could give you some advice on how we overcame this problem but unfortunately, we are making no headway either.  I’ve tried all the “tricks”-children a year younger than him, short play dates, organized activities galore (he’s good in sports). I have even gone so far as to search out other boys who don’t seem to fit in, only to find they either have nothing in common to develop a friendship over, or they just can’t connect.  Sorry I have nothing to offer you but my sympathy and support.

Posted by Machelle B on Nov 12, 2013 at 9:15pm

My son is a freshman in high school and still has this problem.  He’s great at making friends, not so good at keeping them.  He only had 2 kids show up to his Birthday Bowling party. We did join 4H recently and that is helping him to put himself out there.  He get’s really uncomfortable in a crowd, but knows he needs to work on this.  It’s tough to watch.  I just try not to pressure him.

Posted by Chell on Dec 06, 2013 at 8:20am

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions