I have a 11-year-old, son heading into 7th grade. He is having difficulties socially the last couple years and I’d like to get some opinions.
He does fairly well in school, mostly A’s/B’s in advanced/honors classes. When he was younger K-3 he was very social, had lots of friends, always talking, always happy. We used to joke what he was going to be a politician as he knows and could talk with everyone.
4th and 5th grades were more difficult socially for him. He was diagnosed with ADHD (5th grade) though he’s somewhat of a borderline case I’d say. No medication but has been going to executive functioning coaching to help him organize his thoughts and deal with change.
Like most middle schoolers, he’s learning, developing and a work in progress. He is very smart.
My concern is socially. He reads a lot (most of the time) and enjoys playing computer games. He’s hyper-focused on reading/games which I theorize is an escape for him socially. When he’s truly happy, he’s very talkative and engaged. We saw that when he was younger and with a very select # of teachers (and friends) now. He has shut down socially a lot. My guess is as he got older and his “quirks” became more evident, he wasn’t able to deal with the comments or differences he had with other kids. Of my 4 kids, he has fairly thin skin. Kids/friends make comments… most of the time as a joke but he takes them personally. He then shuts down and won’t engage. It is like pulling teeth to get him to do anything socially or with his peers. He goes to swim team but sits alone, etc. He is better with kids younger than himself.
Middle school is tough for everyone but more so a child with some social challenges. My goal is to help him build is confidence socially so he’s happy and engaged. He needs friends and to be somewhat social as that’s when he is truly happy.