• Other Friendship Advice

My 13-year-old daughter doesn’t bring friends home

December 5, 2015 | By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
A mom worries because her daughter doesn’t bring friends home or socialize outside of school.

QUESTION

Hi,

My daughter is 13 years old. She has epilepsy and ADHD, both of which are controlled with medication. She has never had or wanted to have any friends over the house or to go do stuff with them outside of the house.

She is in 6th grade and likes to go to school early to visit with friends. She does well in school and likes all of her teachers. I just worry about her socially because she is very quiet and doesn’t share much with us and has always been that way. Never wants to buy new clothes, or get her hair done or anything like that.

Signed, Concerned Mom

ANSWER

Dear Concerned Mom,

I would talk to your daughter’s teachers to find out their observations about her social skills and comfort level with her peers. Since you don’t have the opportunity to see her with friends, you’ll have a hard time knowing if her shyness impedes her interactions. Does she have cousins or neighbors she plays with? Increasing those social opportunities might be easier for her to embrace.

Your daughter may simply be introverted. If so, school may be enough social interaction and she needs the alone time to recharge her batteries. Many introverts are happy not to socialize outside school or work.

Instead of worrying too much that she’s not yet interested in things other young teens enjoy, try meeting your daughter where she is and nurturing her passions. This will help her develop self-confidence. If by chance her interests involve opportunities to interact with others, even better. Even if her enjoyment is a solo activity like reading, you might be able to entice her into joining a book club or if the two of you can spend a few hours a month volunteering at your local library shelving books so she’ll have the opportunity to interact with you nearby as a safety net.

Because she tends to avoid social experiences, I would monitor her Internet and social media usage so she doesn’t start meeting her needs online instead of developing the skills she will need to succeed in college and in the work force.

As long as your daughter isn’t depressed or anxious, I wouldn’t worry. If there’s a change in her mood, eating or sleeping habits or behavior that lasts longer than two weeks, those could be signs of depression.

Good luck!

Signed, *Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another

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Category: Child and adolescent friendships, OTHER ADVICE

Comments (2)

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  1. Lorraine says:

    Your daughter may have Asperger’s Syndrome and have sensory issues, whereby she would have difficulties interacting with other children her own age.

    I read an article once which said, “many children & adults were diagnosed with ADHD when in fact they had Asperger’s Syndrome.

    This might be something to look into. Google Asperger’s Syndrome questionnaire, and go from there.

    I was considered shy/quiet/an introvert when I was young. I didn’t understand many of the subtleties in life. I had a very late diagnosis and I’m still adjusting.

    If your daughter has any interests, I would suggest you focus on those to build up her confidence. Let her know what she can do, not what she cannot do. There’ll be loads of people in her adult life telling her that because they haven’t tried anything themselves.

    Build her up from now and be honest with her.

  2. Lorraine says:

    Your daughter may have Asperger’s Syndrome and have sensory issues, whereby she would have difficulties interacting with other children her own age.

    I read an article once which said, “many children & adults were diagnosed with ADHD when in fact they had Asperger’s Syndrome.

    This might be something to look into. Google Asperger’s Syndrome questionnaire, and go from there.

    I was considered shy/quiet/an introvert when I was young. I didn’t understand many of the subtleties in life. I had a very late diagnosis and still adjusting.

    If your daughter has any interests, I would suggest you focus on those to build up her confidence. Let her know what she can do, not what she cannot do. There’ll be loads of people in her adult life telling her that because they haven’t tried anything themselves.

    Build her up from now and be honest with her.

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