Skip to content

Making friends isn’t always easy for a kid with ADHD. As a parent, there are things you can do to help your child with friendships.

Treat the ADHD. The same treatments that help your child succeed in school also help with social issues. Medication can cut down on behaviors like impulsiveness that may keep other kids away.

Make introductions. If your child seems nervous about talking to her classmates, set up play dates. Plan activities ahead of time, and be there to keep an eye on things. It may help to choose something your child is comfortable with, so he can feel confident. Kids with ADHD tend to do better with one or two other children than in large groups.

Talk first. Before your child goes to a friendly get-together or event, talk to her about what she should expect there, and what others might expect from her.

Get active. Look for hobbies that center around your child's interests, whether that's art, video games, or sports. Instead of signing him up for what you think is best, let him help make the decision. Look for programs in your area that are planned with ADHD kids in mind.

Practice. Counselors and therapists offer social-skill programs to help children with ADHD learn how to get along with other kids. Consider having your child try one. Afterward, you can practice the steps at home, and reward your little one when she gets them right.

Focus. Don’t try to do too much at once. Pick one or two habits to work on at a time, like taking turns or sharing.

Have a Backup Plan

Talk to the school guidance counselor and your child's teachers. Ask how she’s doing in classes. And work with the counselor and teachers to help clear up any conflicts that could get in the way of friendships.

Kids with ADHD can be targets for bullying, too, so be prepared. Talk with your child about what to do if he gets teased or picked on at school. Make sure he knows it's OK to tell you if he’s bullied.

And remember, while you want to encourage friendships, don't go overboard. Your child doesn't need to be part of the most popular group at school or have lots of friends. One or two close friendships may be all he needs.