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Scarlet
Scarlet asks:
Q:

How can my 12 year old son make friends?

He is very bright, friendly and sometimes shy.  He hasn't had a best friend ever that he can call and just talk to.  Since kindergarten he hasn't connected with anyone in his school.  He plays sports, clarinet and is very involved in Scouts. He is involved in these activities but always keeps himself at a distance and won't make the extra effort to make a friend.  I have told him over and over that it is up to him to approach other kids that he may feel comfortable with.  He is entering a big Middle School in the fall and I am hoping that he will make friends there but Middle School can be rough, esp. for someone like him who won't approach anyone.  Please help if you can.
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BMelton
Apr 3, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

The best way for him to make friends is to be involved in a club or organization that brings peers with common interests together. Sports offer many opportunities for building relationships and learning how to work and play with others. If he is not athletic, he can volunteer as a trainer or helper. I would also suggest a community theater where he can work backstage, paint sets, make props, and eventually have a part in a production. If he is more intellectual, a chess club would be great! Check in your area for opportunities in the community and speak with the school counselor about school organizations that would help him to grow socially.

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Additional Answers (19)

veggiemom
veggiemom writes:
Hi Scarlet, It's VeggieMom. Thank you for your response to my question. My son sounds very much like yours. He too will be entering Middle School next school term and I share the very same concerns. He has been sheltered in Elementary; Middle School will be very lonely for him should he be unable to connect with another child. I also worry about bullies singling him out since he has no friends to support him. I've considered sending him to private school in our area that goes up through Middle School.  It would be a considerable financial strain, but I feel desperate. I've even considered home schooling. The older our sons become the more they need peer connection or they will begin to question what is wrong with themselves which could lead to depression.  Teenagers are suceptible to skewed self criticism; this scares me. Please continue to reach out to me with any suggestions you may have. I am glad to have found another parent who is struggling with the very same issue. Hopefully, they will outgrow this and develop friendships more easily over time.
> 60 days ago

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LoLo19
LoLo19 writes:
he will make firends when he start talking & when he not shy no more.
> 60 days ago

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mom2cassie
mom2cassie writes:
I have the same problem with my 12 year old daughter.  She is in dance and drama and  horseback riding, but she doesn't have any friends from any of those activities either, so I'm not sure that is really the answer.  Frankly, I'm at a loss myself.
> 60 days ago

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babbigirltrust
babbigirltr... writes:
be his friend , try to make him hang around other boys. may try to put him in a club that involves boys only.

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Spetialem
Spetialem writes:
My son is exactly the same. School work comes easy to him. However he has articulation issues with the /s/ sound which causes kids to say "what". This bugs him. We have had him in team sports since age 5 with the same group of boys.  While most now have bonded, he's included and invited to sleepovers and activities more because he's on the team, not because they seek him out. He's extremely sensitive and can't stand hearing have boys cut each other down in fun. He's now a 6th gr in Middle School and it's been rough. Complete meltdown, not wanting to go to school, but in the morning being a good kid, he finds the strength to go and then breaks down when he gets home. Taekwondo, red belt but even that hasn't built up self esteem or friends. He asks why he doesn't have a friend and it breaks my heart. So clubs, activities, sports is not the answer.  I'm now seeking out a counselor. He's really into the computer and non violent games, but kids in middle school like Halo and some current War of Glory game. I'm glad he's not just following the crowd but he clearly hasn't found a way to find common interests. If anyone has helpful ideas, I'd love to hear them. Kids like ours need a place to meet and hang out. All I want is for him to be happy.
> 60 days ago

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Spetialem
Spetialem writes:
My son is exactly the same. School work comes easy to him. However he has articulation issues with the /s/ sound which causes kids to say "what". This bugs him. We have had him in team sports since age 5 with the same group of boys.  While most now have bonded, he's included and invited to sleepovers and activities more because he's on the team, not because they seek him out. He's extremely sensitive and can't stand hearing have boys cut each other down in fun. He's now a 6th gr in Middle School and it's been rough. Complete meltdown, not wanting to go to school, but in the morning being a good kid, he finds the strength to go and then breaks down when he gets home. Taekwondo, red belt but even that hasn't built up self esteem or friends. He asks why he doesn't have a friend and it breaks my heart. So clubs, activities, sports is not the answer.  I'm now seeking out a counselor. He's really into the computer and non violent games, but kids in middle school like Halo and some current War of Glory game. I'm glad he's not just following the crowd but he clearly hasn't found a way to find common interests. If anyone has helpful ideas, I'd love to hear them. Kids like ours need a place to meet and hang out. All I want is for him to be happy.
> 60 days ago

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jamiekuulei
jamiekuulei writes:
Hi everyone!  I found this page because I have been going through the same thing!  Although, my son is NOT 12, he is FIVE (almost 6).  He is in Kindergarten at a private school and he is also shy. There are only 12 students in the class (including him) and they're mostly boys. I know he interacts with kids, I have been to his class and seen his interaction.  He often tells us at home that he hates school, all his classmates hate him, and no one wants to be his friend.  I have mentioned this to his teacher and everything seemed to be going well. It's been about 2-3 weeks and he's telling us again that no one likes his because all the kids don't want to play the same thing he wants to play on the playground (he wants to play Iron Man, and they don't).

Right away this hurts my heart and I want to take him away from the situation but the whole reason I chose private school for him is for this exact idea.  I figured that the class sizes were smaller, the teacher wouldn't forget about him and it wouldn't be as hard making friends.  He does not enjoy sports.  He is also very sensitive and does not like the agression of sports (even soccer, everyone fighting over the soccer ball.. aggressively trying to get it from each other).

In reading some other sites, I have considered spending time with him one day in class helping him to make friends with his classmates.  I have also thought about making contact with some of his classmates moms to have a "playdate" or some kind of get-to-gether with some boys in his class so he can develop relationships with these kids.  I think this would be a great idea for all of you.  I thought that since no one else suggested it, and since I had the idea I would share.  I hope this helps!  Good luck everyone!!
> 60 days ago

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jamiekuulei
jamiekuulei writes:
Here's a website I found with a little helpful insight.

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Declan2428
Declan2428 writes:
Im a kid age 12 and im having the same problem as your son :(
> 60 days ago

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capedad
capedad writes:
Hi, everybody-

I can relate to most of these posts. My son is now 14, special needs, and has never had a friend, been invited to a birthday party, playdate, hangout, etc. He's such a sweet and generous kid, but has been shunned by this community. We adopted him and his sis from the Foster care system when they were merely weeks old, and knew that they came with some issues due to the biological parents background. We did not ever think that this would be something that we'd have to deal with! Some of the kids at his school are covert in their unkindness, others just pretend he's not there. At the end of the school season last year, I told him to try and get some phone numbers from kids that he thinks are friendly to him. He said there was a boy "Joe" that was nice to him. When he came home with Joe's phone number, I almost did a cartwheel across the living room floor. After a few days, he called Joe. When Joe answered the phone, he told my son to call him back in few minutes. When my son did, the number was blocked. He told me, "maybe he's just busy this summer, Dad..."

Not sure how to proceed from here, but we will continue to love and support him. I will gladly be there for him for the rest of my days, but it's when I'm not there that worries me most. Thanks for letting me vent...
> 60 days ago

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courtneyADDMCF
courtneyADD... writes:
I wish you live in Arizona... Im in the same boat! my son is an amazing kid... Can talk to any adult about anything... He entered 7th grade this year and he just cant find a close friend... I NEED HELP... I feel so sad for him!

Have you thought about trying to indroduce him to someone?? I have thought about that but my husband tells me to stay out of it... I am so torn..... Also I called the school and they tried to help with a lunch in for new kids.... but that didn't pan out that well..

Keeep me posted if you find a good way...  GOOD LUCK!
> 60 days ago

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mum23
mum23 writes:
i I know this is an old thread but I'm having the same problem with my 12yr old son. he is kind, loving, funny and sensitive. he was bullied visiously in primary school (we live in Scotland) for 3 years until the bullies moved to high school, at the beginning it got so bad he tried to put a belt around his neck, he was eight, since then if been keeping an eye on things as best I can. he is now in his first year at high school and seemed to be getting on great until one night just before this Christmas he was at his scouts and took one of the boys aside and broke down in tears saying he's getting picked on at school, from what my son told the boy, who told his dad (scout leader), who told me (you know what Chinese whispers is like) its ignoring him, trying to trip him up in the hall ways and poking him when he walks past.
like others sons he gets on fine with adults and also children younger than him but not people his own age. there is a few added problems. the bullies from primary school live in our area so there is no social group he can go to without running into them so he now locks himself in his room and plays his Xbox.  I know this was a bad habit to start with but I am on my own with my son and his 2 younger sisters, youngest has additional needs.  he stopped going out as every time he did he would get jumped and I get a phone call and panic about what I would do with my daughters to go rescue him.
I have made the head of his year aware of the situation just before the Christmas holidays and will contact her when the schools go back to see what she has found out from him. I hate hearing him cry at night and I'm worried how this will affect him as he get older.
any help or ideas would be much appreciated x
> 60 days ago

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susuF
susuF writes:
Hi everyone. I have the exact problem with my 12 year old son. Please if you find any helpful information share it with us. Its comforting to know that others are going through the same thing.
> 60 days ago

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Janicejohn
Janicejohn writes:
My goodness your paragraph about your son is like you are describing my son.  He is 11 years old, is always walking around on his own and looks so lonely in the playground but does not go out of his way to get involved with the other, very confident, boys.  At the moment he is away on a school trip and the awful pictures we are being sent shows him most of the time on his own and always in the background.  The other children, although they are very nice, just seem to ignore him as he's so quite.  Like you son he is very intelligent, friendly and would be a very loyal friend.  It's awful to watch and in September he's going to secondary school and like you said secondary school can be rough and noisy etc. etc.  Any advise would be great too.  Janice
> 60 days ago

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Waz38
Waz38 writes:
Hi new to this site but i have an 11 year old son who is very gifted in school hes a very popular boy who was voted players player of the year on his football team after a great season and on another sport hes also very good and popular . The problem is all the team mates and school pals have great time for him and try to include him whenever hes around but he just cant be arsed interacting with them he has a little chat and a laugh but after the game it just ends he goes home and doesnt have any interest in having any of them as friends . He doesnt have friends not even one and i cant see an end to this without involvment from me but i dont know what i can do to help.
> 60 days ago

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jthomas1111
jthomas1111 writes:
I suggest throwing a slumber party for his class that has a lot of give a ways and fun activities. It will give other kids something to talk about with yours and maybe they will approach him or it will make it easier for him to approach them. You can make him the center of the party.
49 days ago

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Sareheadies
Sareheadies writes:
I too have a 12 year old son who is always the 'third' friend.  I am really worried about him at the moment as he always seems to be the one that gets the Mickey ripped out of him or if he does get included in games, it's always him that the others go for.  My son is a soft soul, but by no means is he an angel!!!! He is a loyal friend and only ever seeks to have fun.  He can't understand, neither do I, why all the kids chose to leave him out or avoid him.  We are originally from Scotland but live in Spain, and believe it or not it's the other British kids that are the real bullies. He can be quite anal with 'rules and fairness', possibly this is my fault as I've instilled that in him since he was young "always play fair and accept the rules".  He is due to go up to the secondary school after summer, but over here they get 12 weeks holidays.....that's a long time to be lonely or feel unwanted.  I really do not know what to do or say to him.  I don't want to personalise things as I was bullied throughout primary school and know how he feels but I get too involved and I want him to be able to fight his own battles.  Any advice would be appreciated. X
36 days ago

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Bethhyyy
Bethhyyy writes:
I'M 12years old too, I'll be his friend:)
I struggled finding friends all throughout primary school until high school. I noticed that everyone else seemed to be having fun and I was feeling left out, I thought no one knew me proper Here so it was a fresh start and I can be who I want. I randomly went up to people and prodded them and said will ya be my bestfriend, this is How I gained my friends at high school and I gained a lot of confidence. I went from being the school "tramp" to knowing e v e r y o n e.. :D
30 days ago

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JUSTAMOM2
JUSTAMOM2 writes:
I don't have any answers. But just wanted to let you know my situation with my 12yr old son is the same. Even more of a concern is that I have 3 boys the others are 11 and 9yrs of age. Of all three boys, my 11yr old one, which is Autistic is the only one whom I can say has had actual peers consider him a friend. I have read many blogs on this topic and of all of them, I have to say that not one have I seen a mention of church membership activities. I grew up in a church and am now realizing that maybe that is the non-common denominator. I grew up that way and have had long lasting friends so maybe that is where I have failed. I no longer am a member but will be looking for a church soon. It is hard out there for these kids and my oldest tells me how these boys speak "inappropriately" about their body parts, about girls and oh the language. Ugh! I don't want him to speak or act that way just to fit in or to make the wrong kind of friend. I believe in the foundation my parents gave me raising me in the church, so that has to be at least a place to start. But still open to suggestions.
27 days ago

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