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How ADHD can impact your child’s social life

While Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly associated with difficulties related to a child’s ability to concentrate and pay attention, ADHD can affect more than just your child’s academic performance at school. It can also impact their ability to socialise and interact with other children as well as adults. For the children themselves, this can often be the most difficult part of having ADHD.

In 2015, research indicated that ADHD was the most common mental disorder among children and adolescents and was found to have serious impacts not only on the child themselves, but their relationships with family, friends and their school.

Children with ADHD tend to lack the vital social skills that not only help them to make friends, but also form reciprocal friendships with other children. Nonstop activity, impulsiveness, and confronting or demanding actions tend to create feelings of annoyance or irritation amongst peers and often cause arguments and disagreements to occur. Children with ADHD can also appear withdrawn or not interested, and struggle to understand other people’s feelings. This all impacts a child with ADHD’s ability to initiate and develop long term friendships.  When children with ADHD do have friends, the friendships tend to be of lower quality and less stable than typical friendships between children.

If your child is struggling socially, there are a few ways in which you can try to make it easier for your child to engage and interact with others:

  • If you’ve noticed your child struggling to make friends because they often interrupt or have trouble filtering what they say, you could use role play with your child to demonstrate appropriate dialogue and turn taking.
  • If your child is losing friends, you could involve your child in a sporting group or other group activity that allows them to engage with other children that have similar interests.
  • If your child often overreacts in social situations, when it happens, ask them to explain what has upset them and then talk about how their reaction may be affecting others. This will help them to recognise their triggers and the impact their actions have on others. Discuss with them more appropriate ways to respond when they are frustrated.
  • If your child has problems with following through, particularly with group work, you could introduce tools like checklists and charts that can help them to get organised. This can help to ensure that their group doesn’t feel let down when working with them.

To learn more about how you can practically support your ADHD or ADD child, please contact us for a free initial consult.