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mom2cassie
mom2cassie asks:
Q:

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

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Expert

Dr.Monika
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
http://pluggedinparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=350&Itemid=201&ed=28

Encouraging Healthy Self-Esteem
http://www.pluggedinparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=442&Itemid=0
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Additional Answers (28)

mishmum
mishmum writes:
Bingo mom2cassie... my daughter and yours are absolutely same!

Here's what worked for me:

My daughter was youngest in her class (in 2011) ie. in a session of July-June born kids, my daughter was April born. Her school promotes composite classes, which further complicated the problems! Youngest yr5 girl sitting with older yr6 students in class!!

I never realised all this, until one of my collegues mentioned that her daughter wasn't able to get along with her peers too (being youngest in class). Thereby, they requested school to let her drop a year (as she wasn't doing well in studies too). It solved their problem!!!

When my daughter came in yr6 (2012), she got rid of older (swearing) kids at school and got the chance to sit with yr5 students for a year. She gelled very well with them in class. Yep! It helped her heaps!! She got her confidence back and improved her grades a lot. She would spend her break with her Yr5 friends.

I still remember...when she was in Yr 2 or 3, just to know if she has any friends at school or not, I would ask her, "Darling, what did you do during break, today?" and she would reply "Just wandered around.."

Now that she is in High School, Yr7, I was really worried for her, how she would manage, and the fear of dealing with older kids again!! But so far, she is doing very well and yeah, i have been telling her not to be very sensitive and try and ignore all negative feelings.

I would suggest you to try making your daughter friends with a year younger kids. Though, not every story has same ending, but its worth trying for the sake of bringing smiles to our sweethearts' life.

Good Luck to all those parents reading this. Trust me, you are not alone and I know how it feels. Just be supportive, to ur kids. Now on, I ll pray for all of us :)
> 60 days ago

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ajbender
ajbender writes:
Hi there,  

As I read your question, it seemed like I wrote it myself.  I have a 12 year old daughter who is stuggling to make friends as well.  Once middle school started, her world seemed to fall apart.  A big problem is that all her "neighbor friends" are still in elementary school.  And, they have seemed to abandon her now that she's in middle school.  Plus, she is immature for her age, and doesn't feel like she belongs with the older girls at middle school.  She says they are into boys and "insta gram" and she still wants to play outside and even likes to play with her stuffed animals.  She's not interested in boys and doesn't particularly care for social networks.  Before middle school, she was involved in dance, gymnastics, soccer, girl scouts, etc.  Now, she dropped out of all of these activies, except summer soccer, and says she feels like she's alone and that nobody likes her.  I'm heart-broken and desperate to fix this for her somehow.  Would love to bounce ideas off each other if you're up to it?  I'm in MN.  Thanks much!
> 60 days ago

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Schooltogo
Schooltogo writes:
I am amazed that there are so many comments on this topic! I am a certified teacher and have pulled all my children out of public school to homeschool.  It has nothing to do with the education...the kids are terrible.  My two youngest hold their own but my oldest is a rare bird.  She is uber smart, a national gymnast, but can't stand most girls.  She can't even get along with the girls on her team, however she does fine with the boys though.  She is almost 16 and I have no idea what to do.  She is VERY black and white and a severe rule follower, which does not help with her peers. One counselor told us she is just too mature for her age in some respects. I am homeschooling the girls and that is working well, but I agree with everyone else, your heart just breaks for your kids.  If you teach your kids to have integrity and character they are doomed...that's a sad change in our society.  I wish there were a safe way to create a website where our kids could meet other kids in the same predicament. We placed my son in a all boys prep school for high school just to get him away from it all.  I know they can't run from it, but what else do you do when people don't parent their kids.  Teachers deal with these situations too, when we are in the parent role. If anyone comes up with a solution please post.  Someone start thinking about a way to create a safe website!
> 60 days ago

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heartbroken1
heartbroken1 writes:
I cant beleive what I am reading! It sounds like I wrote this myself. My daughter is 11 with the same thing. All the teachers say she is apleasure to have around. The kids say they like her but no one will accept her, they actually run from her. She is very pretty I dress her in all the up to date fassions. She is in dance, swiming etc. but still no friends. My heart is also breaking over this. Please let me know if you find out where to get help!
> 60 days ago

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cyndasc
cyndasc writes:
I am in the same predicament with my daughter, who is in grade 6 and has just turned 12. I would say that she is a social, yet highly sensitive type. Despite her report card which indicates high marks for empathy and social interation, She has not found many true friends.   When it appears that she is bonding with someone, it eventually goes sideways.

 I can say that she has had trouble navigating friendships. But then again I recognized that the friendships between girls, starting as young as Grade 1, were dominated by power stuggles. It seems dominate girl would seek out other followers to their club and reject those who are less easily lead. She refused to be a part of the politics and simply wanted to have fun with everyone.  Although she plays with both boys and girls, there have been many incidence of overt exclusion with the girls.
 
I have wondered if she is just not picking up on social cues, but since she is sensitive to others feelings I don't think that is the case.  
In fact, she feels sorry for others who are mistreated.
I wondering if this is my daughters problem or a systematic problem because other kids have attachment issues.
> 60 days ago

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LisaP0823
LisaP0823 writes:
I have been so upset about a similar situation with my eleven year old daughter. She is pretty, athletic, plays the violin, and is an all around kind person. Her two closest friends were in elementary school as she moved on to middle school. Unfortunately, they have started to ignore her since she moved up in September.

She has acquaintances at school but no real friends to hang around with on the weekend. She says she is okay about it, but I know it bothers her.

She in on a swim club, select orchestra at school, and volunteers on the weekends. I keep hoping a friend will come along who sticks.  I wish some of your girls lived closer :-). I find a little comfort knowing she isn't the only one. I hope things work out for your children.
> 60 days ago

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Quote-a-holic
Quote-a-holic writes:
Wow! That sounds just like what I used to do to my mom! To be truthful, everyone has trouble making friends at one point in their life. I have trouble making friends. Just today I ran off from lunch to avoid all of the drama and spent lunch in the library. I would tell your daughter to not be afraid to sit with people at lunch. Also, sit her down and ask her if there is a reason people don't like her. Is she bossy? Loud? Inappropriate? She could have a bad habit that is keeping people from seeing her for herself! Sit her down and talk to her. Also, tell her you are always there for her. Through thick and thin.
> 60 days ago

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JYacoub144
JYacoub144 writes:
My daughter is 11, but she's going through the same thing.  Sometimes I think she tries too hard and wants so badly to be accepted.  It's to the point where she's blaming her looks, weight, etc.  Yes she's tall for her age, and she has a teeny bit of chunky on her, but she's far from heavy!  She's involved in dance, horseback riding, theater, etc., and there just seems to be cliques in the world of girls where they won't let anyone else in.  And to make matters worse, this is her first year of middle school and she's at an entirely different school.  She does have a supposed best friend who also moved to the new school, but I'll be honest, I don't think she's the best influence on my daughter; she's extremely hyper, and all she does is draw and play on the computer.  This rubbed off on my daughter, and now she's saying that all she has is the computer because she has nothing better to do with her life, and no friends.  Why are kids, especially girls so cliquey?  I always taught my daughter never to judge and be kind; to be the one to approach the lonely girl on the playground, but nobody has ever done that for her.  She was so excited about starting this new school, and the first thing she said is she tries so hard to make friends, and everybody just walks away.  My daughter is the type where if she's not accepted by her peers, then she will not do well with her schoolwork.  And you can't say anything to encourage her to just concentrate on getting good grades, yet you have no friends to hang out with after school or weekends.  I wish there was something I can do, but I can't force friends on her.
> 60 days ago

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