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How does ADD affect a child’s ability to make and keep friends?

ADD can have an adverse affect on a child’s ability to make and keep friends. This situation can become more complicated as the child gets older so it will be necessary for the parents to help their child develop friendships.

During nursery school impulsive behavior and high activity are the norm so children make fewer comparisons regarding different behavior unless the behavior is extreme. By elementary school however, children begin to observe and compare one another. The non-ADD child can listen delay gratification, act less impulsively and conform to group norms more easily then the ADD child. They also may be more hyperactive than non-ADD children and unable to delay responding to environmental stimuli. This may be demonstrated in talking too much, interrupting having difficulty sitting still and not completing classwork.

ADD children are also not as adept in making interpersonal judgments. Reading facial expressions and subtle messages are more difficult for them. Thus, they must work harder than non-ADD children to establish themselves socially and find ways to fit in. Their distractibility and difficulty concentrating adds to the frustration of relationships. They can be left feeling nothing they do is right.

By first grade children begin to be more observant and critical of others behavior. If the ADD child’s behavior is different others may react by excluding them from play or name calling which damages their already fragile self-esteem even further.

As infants these children didn’t have learning experiences that teach them how to cope easily. Therefore, they will experience trouble tolerating emotions. they are also not experienced in finding adults to assist them in coping either. therefore they may react to the seeming unfairness of the situation with tantrums, picking fights, being aggressive, or even losing control of their bladder or bowels. this is why it is so important to help these children label and talk about their emotions. they literally will be blocked to learning without the capacity to express their confusing emotions constructively. And without this outlet they are more likely to develop conduct, anxiety or depressive disorders.

Adult caretakers must be cognizant of the studies that show that children who are rejected by their peer group for a year or more are seen to have character flaws that are unchangeable. This puts these children at a much higher risk of depression, suicide and antisocial behavior. It is our responsibility to prevent this from happening by assisting them to form friendships and teaching other children to become more understanding and tolerant. Children who are failing socially also have difficulty with academic success.

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