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How can I help my 9 year old make friends?
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shae_brinn posted:
I am new here and I am searching for a little help. I don't want to sound like a over reacting parent but I am concerned that my daughter is unable to make friends. Growing up I never had a lot of friends but I was okay with that. I have always been on the shy side and rather fade into the background so making friends was never of great importance to me. The difference between myself and my daughter is she actually WANTS to have friends and often times thinks everyone is her friend when in fact they are not.

My daughter will be starting the 5th grade at the start of the next school year. Throughout her elementary years she has never been able to fit in and make friends. She is very intelligent, often the top student in her class, funny, outgoing, sweet, pretty and loving. But somehow other kids seem to find the traits that I find endearing to be very annoying. I can see that my daughter is often regarded as annoying or irritating to other kids but she doesn't seem to notice. She has never been good at recognizing social cues. At 9 she has never truly had a best friend, she doesn't bond with other kids her age on a long term basis, and is often left out of play dates and parties. This has been a real source of sadness for her and it pains me to see her left out. Even then, she still doesn't seem to think that these children are not her friends. She will call or text others, never receiving a response yet she continues to try and contact them. I have tried talking to her about this behavior but she doesn't seem to get it. I have also tried including her into all sorts of activities in and out of school to help her socially but none have resulted in positive friendships or great experiences. Each school year I try to be patient and hope for the best but each year is more frustrating than the one before. It is hard as a parent to see your child being alienated but not truly understanding the situation. She has always been the youngest in her class (she is a grade ahead) and I have often thought this had a lot to do with it. This past school year she finally met a girl who she seemed to bond instantly with. They talked all the time and the girl even came over for a play date one weekend. The friendship seemed favorable and her mother even talked of having my daughter over. But once summer began, the other girl cut off all communication with my daughter with no explanation. I asked my daughter how she felt about this but she seems unfazed, saying that maybe her "friend" is just busy. Even more heart wrenching is my daughter's birthday is coming up and she wants to have her first real party. She has been planning for months but I am worried that she won't have anyone to invite. She thinks she has this long guest list but these are the same kids who ignore her.

I want to know how I can help my daughter. I want to help her be well adjusted and happy even with one good friend but I am at a lost. I know it is not important to be the most popular but I do want to help her feel like she can be friends with someone especially because she desires this greatly.
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