Can anyone relate?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2008
Can anyone relate?
Thu, 01-21-2010 - 5:57pm

Oldest Step-daughter has ADHD. She's in sixth grade this year and the transition to middle school has not been smooth. We're currently working on getting her a doctor here (my husband and I married in August and he and his children moved), but the problem she has struggled with since the 4th grade is her social interaction with peers.

Her school last year only went to the 5th grade. If they had not moved here, she would have been in a building several hundred other sixth graders. The school we have her in now is much smaller and it's been a positive change, but her social skills haven't improved. Part of it, I know, has to do with the fact that the kids in her class are used to having older students in the same building with them and she's not had the opportunity to interact with students in 7th and 8th grades before. Part of it is due to the ADHD.

So, what can we do to help her with her social skills? She acts more like a 4th grader than she does a 6th grader most of the time. Today, we received an email from one of her teachers saying she's arguing with other students in his science class. I asked her what was going on and she said they were calling her an Egyptian. Honestly, I tried not to laugh (the things kids will call each other is sometimes quite amusing), but I also know that if she gets angry enough, she's liable to probably hit one of them.

  "Aut dosce, aut disce, aut discede"
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 01-22-2010 - 9:10am

Oh, yeah, I can kid has had social issues since, oh, let's see, I think 4 yrs old is when they started worrying. He's in 7th now; like you say, 2-3 yrs behind socially. Nearly no friends. He is, this year, getting help in the form of a speech teacher who is doing pragmatics with him & a few other kids. They talk about behavior expectations & social stuff. This seems to be helping from the not-falling-further-behind perspective, at least. The problem for me is that it's very hard to figure out what is actually going on since I can't witness the event & the story the kid brings home is, um, from his perspective, of course, so often tends to leave out the thing that happened before that actually matters, because he didn't notice it, of course.

I did find some of the books on socialization for Aspergers kids were worth reading, some of the issues are similar.

One of the things we did a bunch of last year was work on the anger side. That's really helped--this year, he's simply handling things better (watch, now I'll get a call from the school!), because he's not getting to the can't-think mad state. We got a book out of the library about anger for middle schoolers. It made several points--much better than I can make them here--a) the anger is a choice YOU are making. YOU are choosing this response to the external stimulus. b) it doesn't help you at all. c) it talked about learning what your personal early warning signs of anger are, because what you need to be able to do is recognize them THEN, before you're feeling so out of control that you can't get back into control.

We also worked with him a bunch about being able to turn the teasing back on the teaser. He got suddenly good at this with a single person doing the teasing in 6th grade; either he's coping better with mass teasing in 7th, or it isn't happening with anything like the frequency this year--which, of course, could be because he copes better!

Things the SCHOOL says: have the kid in activities, so they have a chance to interact with kids outside of schools. Earlier years, they recommended one-on-one playdates, which do work better, but aren't really something -I- think a parent can set up in middle school.

For me, I try to remind myself that I was a lot like this (though not ADHD) at these ages, and -I- turned out OK (well, functioning adult, at least!). We give him a lot of support, where we can, and I try to figure that eventually, the huge mountain of social skills they climb levels off at the top & our kids will catch up not so much by catching their peers but because the 2-3 yr gap will be less important.

OK, sorry, that was waaay too long!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Thu, 01-21-2010 - 11:37pm

Ugh! I can so relate. My DS is in 7th grade and we're actually homeschooling this year. He's several years behind his peers WRT maturity and social skills. He's still pining for what he calls the "middle school experience" (his last school went up to gr. 6) and so I've reluctantly agreed that he can attend 8th grade at the local middle school.

He used to come home, almost daily, in a rage about something that someone had said to him that day at school. I can't wait for that to resume (not).

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Thu, 01-21-2010 - 8:35pm

HI, and welcome

As you probably know kids with ADHD are generally socially several years behind their peers. Role playing therapy helped my DD with social situations, and she now feels comfy interacting with kids who are older. She is in 7th grade, but all of her classmates are 8-9th grades.

Does she take meds? They do help sometimes.

I would get a Psychiatrist as soon as possible, and see where she is socially, and implement therapy if at all possible.

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.