I work with a number of families whose kids have been labelled with ADHD or with some flavour of Anxiety Disorder…sometimes both. I also work with many kids assessed as Gifted. A thing most of them have in common: problem making friends. Oftentimes this problem leads to a vicious circle of somatic complaints, school avoidance, low marks, low self esteem, bullying and in some cases, self harm of various intensity.
What makes developing friendships difficult? A deficit in Socio-Emotional Intelligence. For a variety of reasons, these kids have not learned/absorbs the social skills of friend making and/or do not know how to regulate their emotions. And so they miss social cues and make social gaffes that result in teasing and bullying. This eventually leads to the ultimate fears for humans: REJECTION and ABANDONMENT.
In searching for tools to help my clients, I have come across this article from Dr. Carol Brady in the ADDitude Magazine. As I see no point in reinventing a perfectly good wheel, I have copied her article below.
A WORD to PARENTS: even thou your child may not be ADD/ANXIOUS/GIFTED, teaching him or her social skills and emotion management (not to be confused with emotion repression) will only benefit their development.
Role-playing strategies to help your child get along with others—even bullies.
by Carol Brady, Ph.D.