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Son Acts Withdrawn

CP in Alabama says:

My 10 year-old son is very withdrawn and acts depressed in social situations. When an adult speaks to him or asks his name he just mumbles and won't look them in the face. His Dad and I have told him how this embarrasses us and have practiced social skills with him. He seems so sad at times and we want to help him. Any suggestions?

Michele Novotni answers:

Many people with AD/HD also struggle with depression. AD/HD wears people out and can sometimes take on toll on one's self esteem. This combination often can lead to depression, which can make many reluctant to engage in social interactions.

I recommend having your son evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist for depression. It will be important to understand the reasons for his sadness and withdrawn behavior before effective social strategies can be developed to help him. Given your description of his behavior it does not appear to be a skill deficit problem.

As you anticipated, it is best to avoid putting pressure on him by emphasizing how his behavior embarrasses you. It is important to realize that this is not a personal reflection on you or your competence as a parent. It sounds like he needs love and acceptance as you all work through whatever emotional issues he may be feeling. I wish you well.

Michele Novotni, Ph.D., is a psychologist and coach in private practice in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

This article is published by permission from ADDitude Magazine 2004. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Subscribe to ADDitude online or via toll-free phone 888-762-8475.

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