Jan
27
2013

Five Reasons Tweens and Teens Have Problems Making and Keeping Friends

Guest Post By Agnes Jimenez

There is nothing worse than watching your child struggle in school whether they are having problems academically or socially. Although it is usually fairly easy for parents to help their child improve their grades, it is much more difficult for them to help their child make and keep friends. Before parents can help their tween or teen fix their social problems, they need to find out why the child is having trouble in the first place.
1) Extreme Shyness
If a child is very shy or sensitive, it can be difficult for them to interact with their classmates. Children who have Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or another type of anxiety disorder may feel nervous or embarrassed to be around other people. Children with anxiety disorders may avoid others because they are worried that they will begin blushing or have an anxiety or panic attack. Parents who have a child that becomes very nervous or anxious around others should bring their child to a psychologist or psychiatrist to see if their child has an anxiety disorder.
2) Depression
Depressed children often have trouble making and keeping friends. They may not want to participate in class discussions, sports or other school activities. They may not feel like talking to others and when they do interact with their peers, their negative outlook on life may scare them away. Tweens or teens who have lost interest in their favorite activities and who spend the majority of their time alone in their room may be suffering from depression. Some other signs of depression are sadness, irritability, frequent crying, weight loss or weight gain and fatigue. A psychiatrist can provide counseling and prescribe medication that can help a child to overcome depression.
3) Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Children who have ADHD may have trouble keeping friends because of their odd behavior. Kids with the condition may find it difficult to stay still or control themselves in social situations. They are often disruptive in class, talk too much and interrupt people when they are talking. Around 5% of children have ADHD and many of these kids have trouble forming lasting friendships until they receive medication that improves their behavior.
4) Poor Social Skills
Some kids have poor social skills because they did not have the opportunity to play with children at a young age or because they moved frequently and had to keep changing schools. Strict parenting can affect a child’s social success. Children that are never allowed to go shopping or go to the movies with friends are missing the opportunity to form deeper friendships with their peers. If kids are not allowed to go to parties, sleepovers or other fun events, they are likely to be excluded from future activities. It is important for kids of all ages to have the freedom to develop close friendships.
5) Bullying
Some children have problems making and keeping friends because they are bullied at school. Bullies target children who are shy, sensitive or who have low self-esteem. Other kids may avoid a child who is constantly being bullied at school because they do not want to become the next victim. If a child gets along well with family members and the kids they meet in extracurricular activities but cannot maintain any friendships at school they may be a victim of bullying.
Parents who want to help their child improve their social skills can find helpful information online at http://www.thefamilycompass.com/ The site offers a list of therapists and information on alternative boarding schools. It also provides information on different disorders that can negatively affect a child’s life.

About the Guest Author
Agnes Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer. She writes for many online establishments and currently partners with TheFamilyCompass.com in spreading awareness about troubled and depressed teenagers (and how to deal with them). The Family Compass aims to increase awareness on the current psychological and societal stresses of today’s teens and how these factors affect the future of our society.

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