Common Questions Parents Ask About Childhood Friendships, Part 2

What can happen if my child doesn’t have friends?

Potential consequences of a childhood spent alone can include being isolated, victimized by peers, or confused about why he/she doesn’t have friends. It can also result in problems adjusting to life and possible engagement with deviant behaviors.

What are some of the adult problems that can be avoided by learning to develop meaningful friendships as a child, and how are these childhood habits and adult issues related?

Unfortunately, the adult without social skills is often isolated, lonely, rejected, criticized by others, is not included in work-related activities, and can become the brunt of office jokes. Most adults know another adult who fits this description.

The Problem

Parents, relatives, coaches, teachers and other adults working with children without friends, did not serve these children well. Childhood habits and adult issues are closely related. If the skills are not “caught,” the skills need to be taught. Children, who don’t have social skills, will not just pick them up.

Be Proactive

Instead of ignoring and neglecting children who don’t exhibit basic social skills, adults can help prevent adult friendship challenges by teaching these skills to children. Educators now recognize that poor social skills will continue throughout adulthood unless the child is taught good skills.

Start Help Early

Early intervention can help children prior to entering kindergarten. Most states provide early intervention for toddlers and preschoolers who exhibit deficits in social and/or emotional development. Many elementary schools offer social skills groups for children so children can learn these skills. Children who lack social skills are being helped tremendously by being identified and taught basic interaction skills. Developing these critical skills will mean that fewer adults will experience adulthood without friends.


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