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Loneliness in Children with ADHD

Loneliness can be a significant challenge for children with ADHD. Especially for those struggling with friendships. Understanding and addressing this issue is crucial for a child’s overall well-being and development. The findings of a recent study highlights the extent to which loneliness impacts children with ADHD. The following article aims to provide parents with some go-to strategies to support their child in overcoming loneliness.

‘A parent is as happy as their unhappiest child’

Firstly, children with ADHD often struggle with social interactions due to impulsivity, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity. These challenges can lead to difficulties in forming and maintaining friendships, resulting in feelings of loneliness. This may trigger further feelings of shame and social anxiety, creating a harmful cycle of negativity. The study above emphasises that children with ADHD are at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness compared to their peers without ADHD. These findings reveal that these children frequently feel isolated and misunderstood, which negatively impacts their overall mental health and self-esteem. Here are some strategies for supporting children suffering from loneliness:

  • Open Communication: Encourage your child to express their feelings and thoughts without fear of judgement. Create a safe and non-judgmental environment where they feel comfortable talking about their experiences. Listening actively and empathetically can help them feel understood and less alone. Remember to set aside regular times for one-on-one conversations with your child. Use this time to discuss their day, their friendships, and any challenges they might be facing. Be careful not to overwhelm your child with any overwhelming questions.

  • Promote Social Skills Development: Social skills training is often beneficial for children with ADHD. This can include teaching them how to take turns in conversations, recognise social cues, and develop feelings of empathy. Role playing different social scenarios at home can help your child practice these skills in a safe setting. Role playing is a very effective technique I use with my younger clients. It may be worthwhile enrolling your child in group therapy or support group specifically designed for children with ADHD. These groups provide a structured environment where participants can practice interpersonal interactions and develop meaningful friendships.

  • Encourage Extracurricular Activities: Participation in extracurricular activities can provide plenty of opportunities for your child to meet new friends and build a sense of belonging. Choose activities that align with your child's interests and strengths, as this will increase their engagement and willingness to come again. Look for activities that are structured and have clear rules, as children with ADHD often thrive in environments with consistent routines.

  • Facilitate Social Interactions: Organising regular social gatherings can help your child build confidence in being around others. Keep these gatherings small and structured to prevent your child from feeling too overwhelmed. Try to plan activities that engage your child and require cooperation, such as board games or team sports. Ideally, these activities should be arranged consistently on a weekly basis to gain regular exposure. This will help your child develop social skills in a fun and supportive environment.

  • Seek Professional Help: If your child’s loneliness persists or worsens, consider seeking help from a trained professional. An experienced therapist or coach can work with your child to develop coping strategies and address any underlying issues contributing to their loneliness. Look for a practitioner who specialises in working with children with ADHD. They will have the expertise and experience to address the unique challenges your child may face.



As the saying goes: ‘A parent is as happy as their unhappiest child’. If your child has ADHD and is experiencing loneliness, it will require patience, understanding, and a proactive mindset. By communicating openly, facilitating social interactions, building a support network, and gently encouraging participation in activities, parents can make a significant difference to their child's life. Remember, the child must want to participate in any social interaction, so don’t force your child into anything without their buy-in. By taking these steps, you can help your child to build meaningful relationships, boost their self-esteem, and lead a happier, more connected life.


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