Should Your Child with ADHD Join a Friendship Group?
Forming lasting friendships can be difficult for any child, much less a child who has ADHD. While many kids with ADHD participate in some sort of therapy, social skills and learning how to get along in a group can be challenging. However, parents have many options including friendship groups, which are one of the newer trends in helping kids with ADHD learn how to socialize. Run by social workers, psychologist or teachers, these groups help to teach children how to make friends and thrive in a group setting, which are skills that may not come naturally to ADHD children. The group leader uses activities such as games, role-playing, and other playful techniques to teach the children empathy and social skills.
Research has supported the effectiveness of these friendship groups. There have been several studies that have found that while ADHD medication does improve many symptoms, it does not improve a child’s social competency. Additional studies have also found that non-drug ADHD treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and social skills groups, do help ADHD children learn socially acceptable behaviors. If you are thinking about having your ADHD child join a friendship group, here are some friendship group lessons to try at home to help them:
- Don’t punish mistakes: If your child makes a mistake, sit down with them and discuss why what they did was a problem. Explain to them what they can do differently next time.
- Practice positive reinforcement: Make sure to reward your child when they engage with others and show other sociable behaviors. For example, reward them if they make a compromise with a sibling or do something kind without being asked.
- Relax: Laughter can be a great learning tool. Try to lighten up and make even boring chores more enjoyable with your child.