My daughter is just starting middle school, and she's having a tough time making friends. She's pretty shy, and she only knows a couple people at her new school, so I think she's mostly spending time by herself. It's breaking my heart to see her lonely. Any advice on getting a shy pre-teen girl to open up? How can I help my daughter meet friends?
It is not easy to watch our kids struggle with making friends. Since she is now starting middle school, most likely there are many other kids who are in the same situation. Middle schools typically offer many before and after school clubs and activities. If she plays sports or is musical, encourage her to get involved. Some middle schools offer volunteer opportunities for their students for help others which is another great way to get involved.
Encourage your daughter to invite one or more girls over sometime for pizza and a movie. You can help her plan it out. Even if they are not her best friends, at least she will be getting to know a couple of the girls a bit more. If you are not able to have kids at your house, you can plan something else at another location. It does not have to be anything fancy just a time for them to have fun.
If your daughter is naturally shy, she may not be the type of girl who hangs around with a large group of girls. She may be more comfortable and happy with one or two close friends. There is no right or wrong, it depends on how she perceives it. Some parents who are naturally extroverted, worry needlessly that their child is lonely and unhappy when in fact, their naturally introverted child is perfectly satisfied with having just a few close friends.
If you would like to speak with a counselor about this or any other parenting issue you can always call or e-mail our hotline. And, please give our website for teens to your daughter: www.yourlifeyourvoice.org This is a positive site which encourages her to express herself. She can also reach out and e-mail a counselor about any problem if she desires. We are here 24/7 for parents and kids of all ages.
Take care and best wishes to you and your daughter!
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Hi, I just read about your daughter and wanted to let you know you are not alone. My daughter is just turning 13 and she to is sort of like your daughter. She has always been shy, a bit different then her friends but she had them since early years so they all just knew that was her. We then moved away to kansas last year and boy that was really difficult for her. She made a couple friends but that was it. I would take her skating and she would just stand there watching the other's skate, laugh and play. Like you, that was heart wrenching for me. She would see other girls walking together at the mall and tell me she wishes she could go there with other girls. Her being shy has really hurt her socially. Now this new year she had a few bullies but finally after months of us going to the school and taking it as high as we could they have left her alone and she has even found a few friends. She does skate with them and i am very thankful for that but it is still different and hard for her. She is still shy and sits at home with us most week ends because they don't call her as much as she would like. So all that to say i feel for your child and just to let you know it does get some better. It was so bad for us we were looking for rent a kid agencies,LOL so we could have another kid to hang out with us for our daughter's sake. One thing we did do is have a birthday party and that helped but she said it was overwhelming because she doesn't care much for crowds. Anyway hang in there, knowing and praying that all will work out for your kid and I will be in prayer with you.
I just answered a similar question. Linked below is an article about shyness that I think you will enjoy and may find helpful. Also, I've created a link to the other question I had answered, thought you might find it helpful too.