New to board, advice really appreciated

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-28-2013
New to board, advice really appreciated
11
Sun, 07-28-2013 - 4:28pm

Hi, I have a 13 year old daughter.  My worry is, she never seems to have a friendship group or go out with friends at all.  She says she is happy staying in but I am so worried about her being alone.  She sometimes tries to arrange to do things with other girls but they always seem to be letting her down.  I am not sure if she is a horrible person or if the girls just dont think she is worth being friends with (she is very quiet and blends in to the background).  I have suggested joining clubs but she just says she doesnt want to.  Do you think I am worrying as she is just 13 or should she really be out and about more.  I know I shouldnt be getting involved but it is breaking my heart always seeing her alone x  Please be honest with replies 

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Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 07-28-2013 - 7:38pm

Has she ever had friends, or is this new since middle school?  How is her behavior otherwise?  Her health, weight, sleeping habits, activity level?  Does she exercise, play sports, get involved in extracurriculars like music or the school paper, volunteer?  How are her grades?

If she's always been a loner, but still is involved in school and the community, and her grades are excellent, then I would not worry.  If she sits in her room constantly, is overweight, is not engaged in ANYTHING, then take her to your Dr, and get a referral to a psychiatrist.  Depression is common among teens, and can be very serious.  Don't waste time. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Sun, 07-28-2013 - 11:24pm

Gentle hugs and welcome to our corner of the village.

Also, welcome to the worry corner, which I’m sure you know is a very big part of being a parent. (As a side point, I once asked my mother when she stopped worrying about my siblings and me. She said, “I’ll let you know when I do.”)

I’m guessing that your DD is starting 8th grade next month. BTDT with two daughters that are fourteen months apart. They and our SILs are now 20 and 21. The girls were always best friends and the guys became best friends when oldest moved in a few doors down from youngest when they were 10 and 11; a friendship that has profoundly blessed our three families in so many wonderful ways.

Butch, the youngest SIL, has mild Asperger’s Syndrome which means he is clueless when it comes to social interactions, but he gets his cues from the other three who love him, as hubby and I do also. The cues allow him to function well enough to do well in most situations. He knows how to apply those cues, but I’m not sure he fully understands lots of things. (I have seen these types of cues in interviews with Bill Gates and his wife Malinda, with his dad beside him, and with Steve Ballmer at his side. Yes, I think Bill Gates has mild Asperger’s. I’m positive about Steve Jobs and Bill’s partner Paul Allen.) I mention this because Butch’s parents went through years of agony and worry about their youngest of three, only to have him find friendship with a guy who in a strange type way would select Butch’s wife by arranging to park his pal Butch with our younger daughter so they could all go to a Halloween junior high school dance. (Be careful who you let select your daughter’s dates. LOL Seriously, hubby and I would pick these guys every day and twice on Sundays.) Believe me, you would already know if your daughter has Asperger’s, so don’t even wonder about it.

Call it middle school or junior high or a banana split, but those early teen years can be emotionally brutal with hormones, other body changes, schooling changes, algebra, more homework, clicks, mean girls, peer pressure, and ten million other distractions and stresses. (Think back to the dark ages when you were in those middle ages. It ain’t no better now.)

Sabrtooth hit on the depression issue and that is something to always be looking out for. A couple of years ago in our extended family, we had a seventeen year old who seemed to have “the world by the tail.” He was popular at school, was being courted by schools like Harvard and MIT—yes that Harvard. He was seventeen when he killed himself leaving many crushed people behind—including me.

Also Sabrtooth mentioned your daughter’s history of friendships and group friendships. Have there been changes? Some people are very content to just be in the background and are content to be alone. Others bloom later in life.

I once read that, if you have three or four or five truly CLOSE friends in your entire life you have been blessed—CLOSE is the key word. Forrest Gump had four, his mother, Jenny, Bubba, and Lt. Dan. Ronald Reagan had two—his mother and Nancy. Harry Truman had Eddie Jacobson and Bess. Jack Kennedy had Bobby. Whether it’s for the best or not, our two young couples have been orbiting each other for the past seven years and that is not likely to ever change. It works for them.

I hope this ramble of mine helps in some way and wish you and yours all the best!

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 07-29-2013 - 5:23am

Ugh, 13-year-old girls are not at their best.... especially groups of them. I avoided them when I was that age. My DD avoided them when she was that age. Spend some time with regular 13-year-old girls and you'll be thrilled your DD is taking some time off on the social front. I'd encourage her to find some interest based activities outside of school... preferably multi-age activities but I'd not stress it too much. She's not a horrible person but yeah, 13-year-old girls can act pretty horribly. If she's dissapointed in them then she's probably a pretty strong and decent person.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 07-29-2013 - 2:41pm

I also have a DD13.  I have already raised two that are 27 and 24, and I still worry about DD13 sometimes.  (she is actually having serious issues right now)

Here are my thoughts.  There are some people who are simply okay being by themselves.  My DD13 is essentially an only child because of the large age gap in my children.  So yea, unless she invites a friend over, or is invited somewhere else, she needs to entertain herself.  That by itself isn't a bad thing. 

My DD also seems to do way more inviting than anyone inviting her.  I think that a family with a few children running around the house don't think so much about "playdates." 

I may be repeating what some of the other posters already said, but here I go.

Change is normal at this age.  However, is she litterally isolating in her room?  Or simply hanging out all day watching TV in the living area?  Has her hygenine changed?  Her sleeping habbits changed?  Her eating habbits changed?  Are things she used to enjoy doing, not enjoyable to her anymore?  Is there any depression or addictions on either side of her family? 

It is so hard to know sometimes what is normal and what needs to be treated.  If there is any kind of depression or addiction issues in the family, it wouldn't hurt to have her see a counselor to rule out anything serious. 

Oh, and we can't forget the influence of the internet.  If she seems to be hooked to her computer, ipad or phone, that can make teen drama 100 times worse.  It was bad enough for us growing up before computers and cell phones.  Technology has upped the drama quotiant. 

Hang in there and if in any doubt, take her to see a counselor.  It can take a month to get in for an initial appointment, so call now.  You can always cancel if DD starts to turn around. 

Hugs....

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 07-29-2013 - 8:29pm

Not every girl wants to hang out at the mall with a large group of kids who shriek "OMG!" and are generally loud and intimidating. She might just be an introvert who is learning to know herself and value her own company. You'd far rather her be in this situation than a wannabe, trying to fit in where she doesn't belong only because she thinks she has to.

My 18 yo daughter has never wanted to hang out with large groups because it's exhausting for her. When she was 13, she had a small group of good friends, the respect of a larger group, and a handful of enemies. I think she was both fortunate, and normal.

If your D is content with her lot, then let her be. Don't worry if she doesn't do what "everyone else" seems to be doing, because I can guarantee that the "everyone else" you notice going out in large groups is really just a small subset of kids. The rest of them are a lot more interesting.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 07-29-2013 - 8:36pm

Kimmy, I don't think that's entirely accurate about the Asperger's dx. Some kids don't find out until their mid teens, as my son did, especially if they're high functioning. A friend's daughter didn't know until she was 18, ready to leave for college. I think if you have clear social issues from early childhood, you're more likely to wind up on someone's radar than if you just cruise through and start having problems in middle school.

Oh, and ITA about Bill Gates! I have so many Aspies in my family (my brother, his son, and even my DH has many symptoms) that I'm beginning to believe that non-NT is just a variation of normal.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 12:46am

I yield to you on the point about some Aspies not being detected until teens, but what I did not want poor old Mummy to take from the posting was that her daughter might be one. My understanding is that boys are much more likely to be Aspies; so Mummy that is another reason not to worry too much about your daughter being one.

One thing for sure, if you live with an Aspie, or grew up with one next door, like I did (a man you consider to be your third grandfather as my siblings and I did), you tend to be able to spot them quicker and you can also see their minds churning as they are trying to cope with the situation. That is what I think we both see in Bill Gates. LOL

Another one that I always enjoyed seeing in an interview was the late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist. You could see his mind grinding as he coped. And he could be quite funny in his answers. (The third grandfather I mentioned above was always getting cues from his wife, my third grandmother. They were listed in my parents will as our guardians should that have been necessary. Lucky them, they dodged that bullet, LOL. I wish they could have met Butch and vice versa. Butch’s dad knew him professionally and respected him greatly.)

Bill Gates has done something that few men as successful as him have been able to do and that is to be extremely successful in both business and in marriage. Way to go Bill!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 1:48pm

I think the fact that she says she's happy is positive--does she seem happy to you?  Everybody else mentioned the signs of depression.  Also I do remember that I went to Catholic school which was grades 1-8.  It was a small school, only 40 kids in my grade and by 8th grade I was pretty sick of it--plus 13 is an age when you're not really grown up enough to do much by yourself and too old really to be a kid.  I was so much happier when I went to high school in a bigger (but still pretty small) school and made a new group of friends.  I had never done any activities when I was younger--I never liked to do sports and there wasn't that much to do back then except Girl Scouts.  Oh I did play the piano but that wasn't too social--I liked to read and even if I went to my relatives, unless it was where there was a cousin my age, I was much happier reading.  In high school I was a cheerleader, did plays, did all kinds of social activities--so it might be the age too.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 2:46pm

Do you believe that she really is happy, or do you think that she is just saying that so you won't worry or bug her? If she is happy and fine with the situation, then try to not worry and accept that this is who and how she is right now. As others said, 13yo girls can be a difficult lot. They are often not very nice to others, even those they call their friends, maybe your dd is trying to stay out of some of that drama.

We had the opposite issue. My dd desperately wanted to be part of a large crowd of "cool" kids and it turned out that many of those kids were in to things like drugs and alcohol at 13-14. I had a lot of trouble trying to extricate her from those influences. Be careful what you wish for!

Some people are just quiet or introverted or not similar to the other kids at a particular age. If your dd seems otherwise okay then give her time, she may become more outgoing and/or find her niche later.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2004
Sat, 08-03-2013 - 8:31am
I completely understand. I have a 13 yo son that is the same way, except for the fact that he is not shy. I also have two other children, both boys, one is 15 and the other is 19, and they try to get him interested in things but he will not budge. The only hope I have is that when he gets back to school things will change. It's touch, but hang in there.

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