My daughter is 14 and started at DHS this year. She has been here and in the schools since 1st grade. She used to have lots of friends but I noticed during 7th and 8th grade she would have one friend at a time. Since high school she has no girlfriends. It’s really breaking my heart and I am not sure what to do to as a parent!!
Any help/advise would help so much.
Dear Concerned Mom,
“A mother is only as happy as her happiest child.” When our children are hurting, we hurt. Middle School and transitioning into high school is one of the most challenging developmental phases. Frequently, even those children who have been socially successful may find some bumps in the road. Your daughter is not alone.
Despite all of the changes during this time frame, physically, emotionally, socially and academically, sometimes there is more going on than just typical teenage angsts. The onset of depression and anxiety can cause children to isolate and have lower levels of motivation around connecting with others. Trauma related to bullying or other traumatic events that a child may not have shared can also impact them in a very similar way. Frequently, those with mild symptoms of Autism can be missed in elementary school and the higher level social demands of middle school, magnify the unidentified needs. (Especially in girls!)
If your child has a significant change in behavior or a shift in mood that lasts longer than a few weeks, a consultation with a licensed mental health professional may be in order. An objective, fresh set of eyes on your child can assist in providing appropriate assessment and support. Therapy tends to be more successful and shorter in duration when symptoms are mild verses severe. Being proactive results in a much better outcome than reactive. Bottom line, if your “mama radar” is telling you something is not right, it probably is not. Start with your pediatrician and get a few names of therapists they trust or ask around to family or friends. I promise you, someone you know has already traveled this road.
Tatiana Matthews LPC
Atlanta Specialized Care
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