Do you think that your teenage daughter has no friends? Or do you see that your son never spends time with others of his age? So, this guide will show you all the information you need to know to find out why that happens, and if that’s really bad or not for your loved one.
Some of the friends we make as a child can carry over into adulthood, often lasting a lifetime. Finding ways to socialize and get along with peers is a crucial life skill.
As kids develop, wellness doesn’t merely depend on physical fitness and a wholesome diet; social skills are a significant mental well-being component.
It can be of great concern to a parent when a daughter or son displays signs of struggling with establishing friendships, instead, shying away or perhaps finding themselves rejected by others.
While awkward periods and anxiety can be expected of children when they’re trying to search for a place where they fit, parents will still worry when there appears to be a lack of friendships in their child’s life. Or more, they could be lying to their parents in many cases.
In some instances, this can be a normal development phase for the child. Still, sadly there are too many kids that contend with feelings of rejection each day or worse, bullying, whether on the school grounds or with extracurricular activities.
No parent wants their child to go through this sort of pain or be isolated from everyone else, having a good time. Let’s look at a few possible reasons kids might have for not having friends.
Why a child might be struggling to make friends
Whether a kid is going through an awkward phase of their development, maybe becomes shy when presented with a large group. If the kid finds themself rejected for a specific quirk or flaw that other kids might label as such, it’s disheartening to a parent to see their child friendless.
Let’s look at a few reasons some kids might find themselves without a close-knit mate.
A personality that’s one-of-a-kind
When you’re dealing with an individualistic or unique personality, perhaps an introvert, these kids can find themselves struggling a little more to make friends.
They tend to think more “outside the box,” if you will, preferring to be in low-key situations, less stimulating, and deal with friends one-on-one instead of in a group scenario, sometimes spending time just on their own.
Others might not understand that mindset and therefore choose to reject them altogether.
When your daughter, for example, says she has no friends, don’t assume she struggles with that. Not everyone is compatible with all the kids or children they’re surrounded with. It may take some time to find a good friend, and in all cases, that’s better than dealing with a toxic friendship no one needs.
A tech junkie
In reality, this is the age of technology, the digital world. Many kids, from small up to well into their teens, are involved with electronic devices of every sort.
There is no personal interaction with real people. When speaking with an individual, there are instant messengers, texts, chats, social media profiles, or other digital means with no need actually to pick up the phone or go to their home. Even more, children can create secret emails, and use them for website registration or other purposes. They know how to hide that, by the way.
Sadly that’s resulting in a lot of isolation and an inability for these children to develop proper social skills. That has the potential to lead to mental unwellness like depression and anxiety, depending on the level of isolation.
Thus, your teenage son says he has no friends because he’s talking only about school, home, neighborhood etc. But they’re not talking about TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook, so you don’t know if he has an account there or not. In other cases, kids will hide accounts on so many sites, and install texting apps like WhatsApp to talk to others without your permission.
Parents might believe they’re doing well for their children by getting them involved in many different activities in order to increase their socialization. Still, it can actually increase their stress and pressure. Also, that could possibly decrease their ability to make friends considering their other obligations.
While engaged in the activities, there’s no time to interact with your mates. Nor is there time following the events since you need to be rushed home for dinner followed by homework. All that can take considerable time when combined with studying for increasing classroom expectations.
In reality, it would be more beneficial to cut out some of the different events in an effort to get home early. Then, get the tough stuff done sooner, and have free time to possibly go outside the house to meet some of the neighborhood kids, maybe make a new mate. That sounds more reasonable.
Clashes in personality
Unfortunately, everyone is aware that kids separate themselves into different sections in school or even in the neighborhood. That happens with one of those being the most favored kids as they prefer to refer to themselves. Many kids hope to become a part of this group. But some just prefer not to get on their wrong side.
Problems can get in the way when you’re on the playground, and personalities begin to clash with conflicts over the rules of the “yard.” Even though no one wants to make the favored kids an enemy, kids don’t want to be bossed around either.
The problem if you stand up to a group of children, especially this group, is that everyone will turn their back, making for a most lonely school year.
While mom and dad will want to step in to correct the issue, that can often only worsen the matter. But what are some things a parent can do to help when a child has no friends? Let’s look.
What can you do to help your son or daughter with no friends
Friendship is not only an essential part of being a kid. But it increasingly grows more critical as the child progresses through their life. Often if you have that one tried-and-true friend that’s stuck by you since you were small with whom you can confide anything with no judgment or repercussions. So, you can face nearly any challenge life throws at you.
But when you don’t have that, life can prove challenging as you go it alone.
For parents who notice their kids are struggling to either make or keep friendships, there are a few things you can do to try to help the situation. It’s a slippery slope because you can make things worse if you overstep. It’s vital to be on the team, but maybe as the mascot.
Find the underlying problem
You can have a conversation with your kid to try to learn what the root of the problem is. But perhaps they don’t know either. It has the potential to take them down a path they might not want to discuss or might be uncomfortable with.
Perhaps a better approach would be to become part of the scenery and watch your son or daughter in their familiar atmosphere to see for yourself how they interact with others. You’ll gather first-hand knowledge on the issue and be better prepared to assist, albeit in a manner that the kid doesn’t know you’re helping.
Talk to those around the child
You don’t know everything about your child even if you know them well. They spend time in classes, school, etc with many others. So, if you see that your daughter is shy and has no friends, she might have friends you don’t know about on social media.
That’s why it’s crucial to monitor your kid’s activities on their smartphone when you notice unusual behavior and other things. That happens when kids talk to strangers they have never met in the real world. So, they don’t consider them as real friends.
Now, it’s better to speak to the teacher or perhaps talk with relatives. Maybe you can speak to even a neighbor who might witness kids playing together to see if they can shed light on what’s occurring.
These impartial parties will be able to show you a side of your child’s personality that you’re not privy to being so close to them.
Maybe your child is introverted or shy, and as an extroverted parent, you don’t quite understand how that type of personality functions. That will require research to learn in an effort to recognize that perhaps your little kid has friends but not on the grand scale that you might anticipate.
Lead by example
A child mimics what they see from their parents. If you’re not particularly social or tend to keep to yourself, your son or daughter will also pick up those same social skills.
If you hope to avoid that behavior for your child, it’s likely going to require you to open up your own mindset and begin making a few friends with whom you interact more regularly.
Once your kids start to see you having a good time, enjoying other people’s personalities, and spending quality time with friends, they will hopefully want to have that same enjoyment in their own world.
Set up a few gatherings with your new friends and allow the kids to join you. They can see first-hand how much fun it can be to interact with other people in real-time, away from electronics and not doing anything in particular. Also, you can teach your kid how to be safe online. There are many dangers of using Facebook or browsing websites from their phones.
Breaking away from isolation
Suppose your kid is one who loves their tech, keeping themselves isolated and only speaking via messages. In that case, it’s time to have a long conversation about what genuine, good old-fashioned friendship is, what it requires, and how to do it the proper way.
In today’s world, a son/daughter will need to learn about being a support system, showing empathy in times of need, reciprocity, the recipe for a long-last, enduring, healthy, strong friendship. The kids today might not understand that concept unless we teach it to them.
When kids appear to have no friends, it doesn’t always mean they have no friends. Parents can sometimes worry unwarrantedly. Before you jump to a conclusion, stand back, watch them in their environment, and see how they interact.
If there is a definitive problem, then slide in but do so inconspicuously with a few hints to see if they’re ready to discuss what’s happening in their life.
If this is something they don’t openly talk about, it doesn’t make them comfortable. And they don’t want to share, but that doesn’t mean avoiding helping them. Of course, you help.
But allow them to open up more freely when they’re ready. At least the kids can take comfort knowing you’re there to help and they’re not alone.