Our son is having trouble finding his people - he is normally outgoing, positive and hilarious but is slowly shutting down due to not having any close friends. He doesn’t party but most of his friends all started doing that, so he has been left out/behind on all social events. We are willing to move to a larger city that might have more options and services for him. He loves to mountain bike but most mountain bike clubs don’t have teen members. High school has been incredibly hard for him academically and socially, as he isn’t a varsity sport kid or a popular kid. He has an empathetic heart and founded a non profit at age 9 to help the homeless in our state. He just hasn’t found his click - any ideas or places that have this part of ADHD figured out for teens? Thanks for listening.
Any suggestions for a mom of a sophom... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...
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I highly recommend having a conversation with him before you make suggestions. He might be content with his social life or lack thereof. He might have barriers that make socialization difficult. He may have a clear idea of what he'd like to be doing, and just not feel ready or able to do it. He may already have a thriving social life at school, and he needs alone time at home to recharge. Make sure you understand where he's at before you suggest anything. As much as possible, provide support and problem solving, but allow him to find the solutions. Not only is this more likely to work, but it will help him have the skills he needs later in life (e.g. university, work, moving to a new area)
One of the challenges with ADHD is that our impulse control, emotional regulation and other key components to a social life is often lagging behind that of our peers. We're generally aware of it ourselves, and that can make maintaining friendships challenging and intimidating. He may simply need time and support to navigate this piece. I didn't really find my people until I was well into university, myself. I'm also what I call a social introvert. I thrive in social situations, and at the same time they suck the life out of me so I need time to myself to recharge.
As far as suggestions, think high stimulus activities either physically or mentally. Bonus points if it has instant gratification,or if it's something he can hyperfocus on. That's why it's easy for us to gravitate to video games. You can also suggest he think of clubs at school that have a high women:men ratio
Personally I'm a board game nut... I like it because you can focus on the game to avoid those awkward pauses in conversation. There are often board game cafes these days, and they'll help with matchmaking if needed. There may be a board game club at his school. There are literally thousands of board games out there in virtually every genre imaginable. I've got about 120 myself, ranging from building galactic civilizations to farming to making a quilt to political intrigue.
Try to look at his current interests and see how you can steer it in a more social direction. See if you can encourage him to get one of his friends to help him come out of his shell a bit; think of it as having a wingman, but for social situations.
Remember though that it's his life. Share your concerns, but remember that it's his life and it's essential that he learn how to steer the ship for himself. You can sometimes act as navigator, first mate or lookout, but never forget he's the captain.