mom2cassie asks:

My 12 year old daughter does not seem to be able to make friends. How can I help?

She has had one friend for many years, but this friendship has always been tumultuous and the friend has always seemed to use her.  Now she is in middle school but hasn't made any new friends.  She says no one wants to be her friend and she feels picked on at school.  Her teachers seem to think she is too sensitive and gets too upset about little things.  She does well in school and the adults all think she is wonderful, but she seems unhappy when it comes to her social life.  How can I help? or do I just sit back and hope things get better as she matures?
Member Added on Feb 3, 2010
I do not think she is depressed.  She is generally happy most of the time.  She has activities she likes to do.  She is in dance, drama and horseback riding.  She isn't afraid of making new friends, she just reports that other kids don't like her and don't want to be friends with her.  I asked her if she wanted to see a counselor and she has, in fact, talked with the school counselor, but she says that it wasn't very helpful and she doesn't seem to want to go that route.  Do you think I should take her to one anyway?  I think, she doesn't see that she plays a part in her inability to make friends.  She thinks it is everyone else's fault.  When I try to point this out to her, she gets angry and accuses me of always taking everyone else's side.  Frankly, I can't seem to say anything that doesn't make her mad at me.
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago



Feb 3, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Being a teen is stressful.  Teens experience rapid changes in their physical, cognitive, and psychological domains, and they try to make sense of them, while trying to figure out who they are.  They want to fit in with their peers, and in mid-adolescence, they tend to spend more time with friends than with their parents.

Your daughter sounds unhappy from your description.  She has no friends, she is very sensitive and easily disturbed emotionally, as her teachers told you.  Academically, she does well, but there seem to be deficits in her social life.

How do you find her emotional state?  Is she happy or sad most of the time?  Is she moody and cries easily?  How is her self-esteem?  Do you think that she is depressed?  If so, counseling might help in boosting her self-esteem that is crucial in interpersonal relationships.

Please read these articles:

Milestones of Adolescence

Encouraging Healthy Self-Esteem
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