How ADHD affects peer relationships

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often experience problems in relationships with peers. As a parent, it is difficult to see your children working hard to make and keep friends. You may find that your son or daughter has not received an invitation to a classmate’s birthday party, and is rarely asked to play games or spend the night. For your child, this rejection and isolation will become more painful over time.

In order to develop and maintain friendships, children must be able to control impulse, take turns, cooperate, share, listen, be empathetic, attentive and focused, communicate effectively with others, be aware of and respond to social cues, and be able to solve problems and resolve conflicts that arise ——All skill areas are challenging for children with ADHD.

How ADHD-related difficulties affect social behavior

The way children with ADHD interact often causes negative reactions from their peers. Some people may try to dominate the game or participate in an overly aggressive, harsh, and intrusive way. They may find it difficult to do things their peers like to do with their peers. Instead, they may want to develop their own set of rules, or adopt an arbitrary, “unfair” or non-compliant approach, and it may often be difficult to know how to work with other children of the same age.

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Many children with ADHD have difficulty understanding and reading social cues. Others may easily get bored, distracted and “check” friends. Problems with attention and self-control can interfere with opportunities to acquire social skills through observational learning. Many children with ADHD also have difficulty managing feelings of difficulty, and quickly become overwhelmed, depressed, and emotionally reactive.

Impulsive reactions, hyperactive or distracted behaviors may not only be seen as frustrating and irritating, but also as insensitive to the needs of others, so the child will be further avoided and rejected, and considered to be more in the group. It’s getting less and less likable.

Skills learned from peer groups

Experiences and relationships among peers can have a profound impact on the development of children. Through these connections, children learn how to build mutually beneficial friendships and how to build and maintain healthy relationships with others. Through peer groups, children learn the rules and skills of social communication, including cooperation, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Unfortunately, the symptoms of ADHD can impair a child’s ability to observe, understand, and respond to the social environment.

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Due to difficulties in self-control, many children with ADHD tend to react without considering the consequences of their behavior or the impact of their behavior on others around them. In addition, it may be difficult for them to learn from past experience.

This destructive or “insensitive” behavior is often seen as purposeful and deliberate; as a result, children with ADHD may be labelled as “troublemakers” and be further shunned by the wider group And refused. Once labeled as such, even if children start to make positive changes in social skills, it may be more difficult to overcome this negative reputation and establish positive connections with their peers.

Some children with ADHD isolate themselves because of repeated failures of friendship, caution and silence towards others, and decreased self-confidence. Then the problem becomes more complicated, because when children avoid or separate from others, they no longer have the opportunity to learn adaptive skills, and as a result, they develop lower and lower peer abilities. As a child grows and enters adolescence and adulthood, these social skills deficiencies will definitely have a negative impact on him or her.

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If your child is struggling with peer relationships, please know that it is important for you to address peer issues directly and over the long term. The good news is that you can help your child develop these social skills and abilities. Recognizing the social difficulties that may be associated with ADHD and understanding how your child’s own ADHD can negatively affect their relationships is the first step. Armed with this information, you can start to move forward in a solution-centric way to help your child develop positive social and friendship skills.