ADHD & Social Problems in Young Children

In a new study, researches have found that ADHD in young children leads to social problems with their peers. Interestingly, the impact seems to lessen as children get older.

According to an article in HealthDay, the study of 1,000 children, done in Norway found that same-age children tended to exclude those with ADHD behaviors. “Restless kids tend to be less attractive as play partners, due to their problems with sustaining attention to rules, being alert to other kids’ ideas and a limited understanding of turn-taking,” explained Frode Stenseng, the lead author of the study.

The research, which looked at the children at ages 4, 6, and 8, found that the youngest children with the most severe ADHD symptoms were rejected most by their peers; those children in turn exhibited greater ADHD symptoms at age 6. However, by the time the children were 8, the cycle of rejection and worsening symptoms no longer existed.  According to Sensing

All children need social interaction with peers, for example to facilitate social competence. When a child is rejected by peers, it may lead to more restlessness, as well as more aggression.

Minimizing Social Problems

Stensing offers the following advice to parents of young children:

As a parent, one option is to facilitate play and activities in social arenas that their child can master despite his or her inattentiveness, impulsivity and restlessness. Parents should help their child to find activities, such as sports or other leisure activities, in order to establish social bonds in a context where their child is more comfortable than in the school setting.

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