How kids interact with other kids around them is one indicator of how well they will develop in life. Some will do well, and others will continue to struggle throughout adulthood. But if they have ADD, they will probably have trouble making friends or be outright rejected by their classmates when they’re very young. If you don’t recognize the signs, these ADD kids will often have the most trouble as they grow into adulthood.
Trouble with peers often shows itself early because some kids with ADD lack control in the classroom. This irritates the kids around them, just as much as it annoys the teacher. The ADD kid often requires more of the teacher’s attention, making the other kids feel slighted, and they see this child as the “bad” kid in the classroom. This is especially true in the early grades when kids are forming relationships and becoming part of a group. The child with attention deficit is left out because they aren’t like the other kids in the group.
Social skills training can be very helpful if provided when these problems appear. If your child is ADD, you may find that he or she will do much better with a little guidance. Social skills training teaches them specific ways to make and keep friends, and the counseling includes help with conversational skills, ways to manage conflict, becoming part of a group, and managing anger.
Yet, not all kids with attention deficit are so easily recognized. Without the hyperactivity component, the child may not be seen as having ADD until he or she is older. This can happen as late as middle school. They aren’t usually behavior problems and can usually get by in elementary school when the academics are less demanding. People with attention deficit tend to be highly intelligent, and can make it through the early grades with minimal trouble. But as they move into higher elementary grades and middle school, they get more homework, have multiple teachers, and that’s when the struggle begins.
Because their performance level has changed, these kids are often labeled “lazy.” This can make them lose their motivation and the whole thing spills even further into their social lives. Their self-esteem drops rapidly and nobody understands what’s wrong. They tend to feel very alone and very much like losers.
But they aren’t losers! They have ADD, and parents need to be aware of what’s going on in their children’s lives. Parents can’t smooth out every bump in the road, but if you see your child struggling to make friends and having trouble in the classroom early on, attention deficit could be the issue. Get a proper diagnosis and some social skills training to help them. If they’re older and you realize that their schoolwork is suffering, they may have been having attention deficit issues all along. Get them help for their ADD and the help they need to make it through school. Remember, they’re probably very smart and can do the work. You just have to get them the help they need to pay attention.