Sometimes I don’t feel like being funny.

Mostly, when I’ve been robbed of my humor over the past two years it’s because I’m thinking about my son. I’m thinking about his experiences at school – the difficulties he’s had as we try to figure out how to help him through a maze of possible issues.

ADHD, Asperberger’s, ADHD of the Inattentive Type, low self-esteem, anxiety…all of these?

Personally, I don’t care what it is. I just want him to be happy. I want to help him.

I want him to walk into a room full of children and feel like he belongs. I want him to know that he is liked. I want him to have a friend.

It’s tough when we’ve made it to March and he hasn’t had a single invitation to a birthday party this year. He hasn’t been invited to any play dates and our playdate invitations have gone largely ignored.

How do you explain to your son that the other kids do like him when this is happening? How do you explain to your son that sometimes, the other parents are too busy to call back?

I watched him at school last week, standing in front of me with some children from his class. We were sharing stories about the dogs in our neighborhoods and when Joe began to speak, anxiety caused him to stammer. He began to take too long with his story and he rewound when the others began to interrupt. One little girl rolled her eyes and walked away. That’s what seven-year-olds do. They don’t know any better. Their level of patience and empathy is still developing, but Joe sees it and it hurts.

I hurt.

We’ve been going to weekly therapy appointments. Last week he broke down and told the therapist that none of the other kids like him. He told the therapist that he doesn’t have any friends. He got up from the floor where he was coloring and curled against my side on the couch. He turned to me with a look of desperation on his face as the tears began to flow, his eyes pleading, wondering why we were making him talk about this painful subject.

Later, I cried in the car while he happily chatted about Legos and spelling words.

This morning I left some messages, inviting children over for playdates after school. I really hope that this time, someone’s mom calls me back.


  1. aww…I’m sorry 🙁 I wish I lived closer because we would definitely come over and play. My heart aches for him…

    He is so blessed to have you for a mama though!!!

  2. I’m sorry for you. My daughter just started high school and we’ve been dealing with the no friends issue in the last couple of months. The difference is that these girls should know better, behave better. But instead they are mean, gossipy and relentless. I want to wait for them in the parking lot and just “chat” with them for 2 minutes to let them know how much their words or their ignoring can hurt. The upside for me is that she spends a lot of time with me. I love this but I can see in her eyes sometimes how she wishes she was out with friends. I had no idea that parenting would be this hard. Hang in there.

  3. Judie Freer says:

    I wrap you and Joe in my arms. It will get better, I know it will. It is a matter of time and finding the pieces that fit together. Loving your whole family, Aunt J.

  4. Oh, Kell. My heart hurts for you both. Hugs!

  5. This breaks my heart. I’ll be thinking about you guys….

  6. It breaks my heart as well. And, it angers me, greatly.

    I’ve lived through it with two of my three. Reading this takes me back to the same tears they cried, the same hurt they endured. That was 30 years ago and it hasn’t changed much.

    Now, it’s a new generation of mean girls and meaner boys, compounded by a slew of ignorant parents who do little or nothing to harness the bad behavior of their spawn.

    Love and Hugs to Joe!

  7. I’m so sorry for both of you. While my children don’t suffer from Adhd or anything they still struggle in school with friends. We also haven’t had any birthday invites or play dates and it breaks my heart. To avoid a winter full my daughters self pity, and mine , we had her join three different basketball teams and because practices were three times a week and games on weekends she didn’t have time to do anything else. We also gave her a choice to take piano or guiter lessons to give her an outlet.
    Does he like to play any sport or maybe take karate or something to help keep his mind busy and I understand (but am not sure) that karate is very good about teaching kids self control and giving them confidence.

  8. Although it’s been a few years since we’ve really hung out with him, and although I’m well beyond the playdate age, I can publicly state that I don’t just like Joe, I love him. He is a good, sweet kid. Remy still has his picture in his room. Every human being is lovable; we just need to believe it for ourselves.

  9. This brought tears to my eyes…there is nothing stronger than a mother’s desire to keep their child safe from either physical or emotional pain. I am so sorry you & your family are going through this. Just think how lucky your son is to have such a wonderful family that loves & supports him…some children aren’t as fortunate. I agree with Melissa from the previous post – my son lacked in the confidence department & was being bullied at school. We placed him in martial arts about 2mo ago & have seen such a boost in his confidence. Is there a support group in your area with kids with similar diagnoses? Also – screw those people who aren’t responding to your requests for play dates…people like that are POS anyways & it’s better to not have your child around them.

  10. I am so sad for you and Joe and so angry at all the other parents and kids in Joe’s class. I hope that Joe will find a kindred spirit very *very* soon. Are there any homeschool family groups in your area? It seems like homeschool kids might be a little more patient, less brainwashed by peer pressure, and perhaps better intellectual matches for Joe. (I am not suggest you homeschool your child; just that you look into that network for friends for Joe.) Also, what about finding a teenage mentor/buddy for Joe? My brother struggled with reading until he was a teenager and during elementary school, he was paired with teenaged mentors who I think were supposed to help him with his reading but who spent most of their time playing with him. It was a big self esteem booster to be friends with one of the “big kids.”

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