Childhood friendships help not only with a child's immediate happiness and feeling or well-being but might help with long-term development. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) children experiencing problems with their peers may be at a higher risk for anxiety, behavioral disorders, substance abuse and delinquency.
Children with ADHD may have a difficult time making or maintaining friendships. They may feel alone, have trouble getting along with classmates or be made fun of. Some studies have shown that children with ADHD - Inattentive Type can be seen as shy or withdrawn. Children with impulsiveness or hyperactivity may be rejected by their peers due to perceived aggressiveness.
The CDC offers some suggestions to parents to help children with ADHD develop better social skills and peer relationships:
- Recognize the importance of healthy peer relationships for children. These relationships can be just as important as grades to school success.
- Maintain on-going communication with people who play important roles in your child's life (such as teachers, school counselors, after-school activity leaders, health care providers, etc.). Keep up-dated on your child's social development in community and school settings.
- Involve your child in activities with his or her peers. Communicate with other parents, sports coaches and other involved adults about any progress or problems that may develop with your child.
- Peer programs can be helpful, particularly for older children and teenagers. Schools and communities often have such programs available. You may want to discuss the possibility of your child's participation with program directors and your child's care providers.