Child has almost no friends - how to deal with MY feelings

DesertRose - posted on 06/14/2012 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Hi,

I was googling "my child has no friends" and found the best responses in this website. My DD is 12 years old, and the description of her situation is quite like some in older posts here. She hangs out with friends at school, is liked by teachers, but none of those translate to friendships outside school. I am doing all that I can and avoiding the things which will transfer my anxiety about her situation to her.

My question is - while I go about doing what I can, encouraging her, talking to her once in a while, getting inputs from moms of her school friends, some role-play, gently going over incidents that happen at school and she shares with me... while I go about all this and more, how do I get a grip on my own melancholy feelings? Instead of being a mature mom like I should be, I have this childish desire that she should have friends like other girls in the area do. She should be chatting on the phone, I should be asking her to limit time on the phone, sleepovers... movies together. When this doesn't happen, I brood. It disables me so much that all the house work remains undone and i neglect my other child.

I know I am doing all I can, and that my child is not particularly bothered by not having friends outside school, but it hurts me no end that she doesn't have friends. I know I should focus on the bright sides - she is a witty, intelligent, fun, well-behaved child and we have no major issues in school or in our family. Just a happy family of four.

How can I get a grip on myself? how do i stop myself from brooding on it no end, especially during the summer vacation when my child is riding her bike or playing outside by herself.

I am not looking for suggestion to help her make friends, looking for how to handle myself and my reaction to her difficulty in making friends.

thanks so much!

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Sally - posted on 06/17/2012

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I think I have a similar situation to yours. My son is 12 years old and doesn't seem to have too many friends either. He used to when we lived in another state, but when we moved here 3 years ago (4th grade for him) things changed. 4th grade was ok, he made friends. Then 5th grade he was bullied in his class. Unfortunately one kid starts and a group of them follow. That really knocked his self confidence down. So now he seems stand off-ish with kids and is apprensive about approaching kids to make friends with them. He always waits for other kids to initiate a friendship with him.

One thing I've done is volunteer at his school as much as possible. (I've always volunteered) This way I get to know all the kids and they know me, they talk to me, come up to me in the halls and in a strange way it helps him! I get comments from him like "kids that I don't even know come up to me and sayI hey I saw your mom!". Or stuff like that. Then I come back and say oh yeah I saw so and so and they told me you were their best friend, why don't you call them and see if they want to come over?

Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. Other than that, the only thing I do is make sure I handle the situation if he is getting bullied! It happens every now and then. He tells me about it and if its something that I feel I need to handle, I do. If not, he handles it himself. Kids are very cruel in school. I've found out the hard way that your child may getting bullied for months (or longer) and you may not even know. My son didn't tell us for almost 3 months. Kids are ashamed when it happens, and they think their parents are going to report it to school, then the bully will find out and things will get worse for them.

When he wants kids to come over, he asks them. I don't push him though. We are just working to build his self esteem and self confidence back! Good luck! Your not alone....

Ginger - posted on 06/16/2012

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I understand how you feel because I am the same way. I think I look at my childhood, and how I had friends with whom I hung out with in and out of school, and I want the same for my daughter. My daughter has a couple of friends who play over (one is now no longer her friend) all the time, and also plays with our neighbor's children from time to time. Ask her which girl from school she has the most in common with or likes the best, and then schedule a play date between them. See how things go and if they play well together, then speak to the mom about getting them together a few times during the week. If your daughter has a phone, encourage her to ask for her friend's number before she leaves the play date, or even use Skype. My daughter does that with her friends back home, and they have a great time. Also, maybe invite your daughter and friend out to the mall or movies. It's great for them to play at home, but it's also nice to get them out of the house. I am taking my daughter to a Girl's Scout meeting so that she can meet and make friends outside school. Maybe give that a try as well. You sound like a great mom, don't fret too much!!

Michelle - posted on 06/14/2012

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My son is the same way except his problem is he goes to a specialized school and kids from all over the place attend so he is approx. an hour away from his school friends. What I have done to help break up his summer is enrolled him in summer camps and swim lessons so that though he is not hanging out with his buddies from school he is hanging out with other kids in general. My son is a good kid and is well liked but doesn't talk on the phone alot or hang out with buddies he is a home body and I came to realize that the only one who was bothered by this was me. So unless it is bothering her don't stress over it.

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Cheri - posted on 03/28/2014

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I am totally paralyzed by this situation-8 year ago i had a falling out with a school paraprofessional, I was new to the town, my son was starting pre scholl 2007. to this day 120 boys in the scholl hate my son cause this one mom knew everybody and ruined my reputation before I got to know anybody. my only child so isolated, rejected, bullied and hated and he did nothing. i am dying he is so damaged already-any help, besides moving? if i move is it too late (6th) grade for him to develop friend ?

Tammy - posted on 06/07/2013

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So what do you do when it does bother your daughter and she stays upset that her friend never wants to hangout with her other than at school.. Makes excuses every time she mentions wanting to do something together, yet hangs out and does things with other friends..

Susan - posted on 10/05/2012

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Hi Desert Rose---thanks for your post. it was extremely helpful. you are not alone. I did learn from all the posts that it is our stress not our child's---if they are coming home happy then i should be happy.



I like the "better thoughts to reach for". I always have had that thought, but seeing it in writing made me realize how positive it is and helpful to my son. I will continue the positive when i'm feeling negative! Thanks!!!

Rhonda - posted on 10/02/2012

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I have to agree with Michelle. My 12 year old daughter has no friends outside of school and sports, but does not seem bothered by it at all. She seems content to socialize at school and after school sports. I would be more concerned if she expressed lonliness or felt left out. As long as she seems happy and likes to participate when invited, I support her confidence to be happy with socialization on her terms.

I will start to worry when she does not seem happy to me. Kids can be cruel and I see what more mature girls are doing around us, I am just as happy to have a child who is not shallow and using other chidren in insincere relationships.

Nicol - posted on 06/21/2012

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i have the same issues with my 12yr old daughter, she wont leave the house other than school or with me or her dad, we have tried everything and she just says she would rather read than join in with the other kids bitching, she was bullied when at primary school although she took in all in her stride i was the one that was getting upset more than her. we all want our kids to have a happy and what we think is a healthy childhood but times have changed. its not safe for kids to be out now a days. give her time she might come out of herself in a couple of years atleast you wont have a stroppy teen coming home late. im trying to let my daughter know that i will go along with what she is comfortable with and in the process of moving to give her a fresh start away from the bullies.
i know not much help but you are not alone.

Deaunna - posted on 06/20/2012

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Dear DesertRose,

Do you think maybe you might be having issues with depression and your daughter's lack of friends is a catalyst for you to sink deeper? If that is not the case, then try the strategy, 'Reach for a Better Thought'. Self talk is very powerful! It can literally make or break a person. Self-talk encompasses all the conversations we have with ourselves about every thing. Whenever you catch yourself BEGINNING to think about your daughter's situation i.e. getting negative and depressed, do this... REACH for a BETTER THOUGHT! (not screaming- just emphasizing) Ask yourself- what is a better thought that I can truly believe and hold on to rather than thinking about this topic that I know will make me feel depressed and render me useless to my family?



Go grab a paper and pen and write down 3 'better thoughts to reach for' so you will be prepared when these negative thoughts start invading your mind. Do this exercise and find the truth of your situation.



If you decide to try this exercise, and I so hope that you will because I have used it and know it works, please keep me posted! I would be delighted to hear your 3 'better thoughts' and how these thoughts are helping you enjoy your daughter and your life more fully!



Warmest Regards,

Coach Evans

Momma - posted on 06/18/2012

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Your has no friends, and you're worried about yourself being sad? That sounds selfish to me. Besides, maybe your daughter prefers being alone.

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