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My 12 year old says she doesn't know how to talk to other kids. It's getting worse.

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Old 30th June 2017, 11:45 AM   #1
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My 12 year old says she doesn't know how to talk to other kids. It's getting worse.

I am a single mom to one 12 year old girl. We had a lengthy talk last night about her current lifestyle. She stays home every day on her phone and sleeps. She doesnít brush her teeth or shower often. I have to constantly nag her to do these things. These things have always been a priority to her. She had a tough school year where she was a bit bullied (not physically) I guess more so verbally and passive aggressively. She now has internalized that she is fat and ugly and she has closed herself off.

She doesnít want to attend summer programs. She says that she is socially awkward and cannot communicate with other children. She says that she does not have the skills to do so. She says she does not know how to start conversations. At home she is confident, funny, outgoing and opinionated but I guess outside of the home she is just very quiet and cannot be her true self. I told her that I can coach her and I can enroll her into a program that will help her with this specific problem but she says nothing will help.

She has this gloom and doom perspective of life and I donít know if I can shake it off of her. She doesnít even want to visit family and she usually loves this. She says she hates her family with the exception of me I guess. She doesnít want to volunteer with a family memberís daycare business because she says she is so ugly that she scares the kids (she has volunteered before). This sounds silly I know but she really, really believes this to the point that she is almost crying when we talk about it. She is in therapy but she does not open up. She tells me everything but she will not open up to strangers. I have all of this information about her and I know what is wrong with her but I am lost as to how to fix it.

School starts again in September and I donít know what will happen. If I home school her that is just exacerbating the problem. I am worried about what kind of future she will have. She says she will stay with me forever and get a job that requires minimal social skills. She doesnít care about making friends or dating and she just wants to be alone. I am trying to teach her this is life, this is the way of the world, you have to get in and try, you canít wither away.

I feel a bit hopeless and so sad because kids her age are out enjoying her life while she is home all day behind closed doors on her cellphone or sleeping. She has sooooo much potential and I am not saying this because she is my kid; she really, really does. If she could just remove those blinders from her eyes and mind she would excel. She has been prescribed an antidepressant but she has not started it yet. She is reluctant to take it and already feels that it will not help anything.

What steps can I take? :/
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Old 30th June 2017, 1:22 PM   #2
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I'm no expert in kids or anything but it's summer.....of course it will be tough for her since she won't have anything to do. So when school starts, it will get better.

She still needs time to explore her identity, who she is and everything. She's only 12. Maybe give her some self-help books especially for teenagers or some good books to read? If you give her books maybe it'll show her how much you care.
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Old 30th June 2017, 1:36 PM   #3
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Can you plan an event like going to an amusement park and get a friend with a kid her age to go? Basically have her double up on rides with the friend's kid and back off. If she finds she is having fun and is forced to be paired up she might forget herself for a bit.

Things like rollercoasters bring out a little fear and excitement and if she is sharing that with another kid without really internalizing it, it might make it easier for her to open up and just out of natural reaction associate positively with another kid.

If you have a friend or family member with a kid around her age just basically set something up as you came into tickets or the friend bought tickets and you promised to go. Don't leave any wiggle room, just basically "we're going". It could be ziplining, an amusement park, something where the activity is center stage and brings out natural reactions and interactions. When you are on a roller coaster and sitting and waiting before and after, there is kind of a natural interaction that can take place with strangers that makes you forget about any phobias of interacting.

Just a thought.
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Old 30th June 2017, 4:32 PM   #4
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It's not up to her (or it shouldn't be) whether you put her in summer programs, activities, etc. And you need to do it because she's dysfunctional and isolating will only make it worse.

Here's the type of activity to look for. Find one that has organized activities where they give kids a partner or a group to be part of, whether that is gym activities or a swim class or a chemistry lab or a traditional dance class where they make kids learn to do dances like they'll do on their wedding day. Don't put her in something where she has to make her own way but a real structured thing where all are required to interact and are supervised.

I think a dude ranch experience or something like that would boost her confidence. A camp where there's riding and boating and swimming and other activities. There are church camps, but I think you should put her in something like Girl Scouts and tell the troop leader to try to place her with others in a buddy system or something.

Don't let her tell you what she won't do. You're the parent, and she's somehow not gotten her social skills so far so don't keep doing what you've been doing but make her get in something and stick with it. Good luck.
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Old 30th June 2017, 4:35 PM   #5
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My guess is that she is still being bullied via her phone probably.
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Old 30th June 2017, 5:56 PM   #6
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My heart is breaking for your daughter.

Your daughter is a child who's mental health issues place her in a high risk category. Now, this is a wonderful place to vent, but it's not the place to seek advice on how to deal with a child who is falling apart.

Your girl needs specialist help - not the advice of well meaning strangers. Take her to a child psychologist tomorrow.
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Old 30th June 2017, 6:17 PM   #7
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elaine suggested that she may be bullied via her phone still, if this is the case there is no way you can deal with the effects of bullying if it hasnt stopped....the best thing for you to do is make sure as a first step that she is not being bullied via her phone or face book.....take her phone.....access her face book.......posters might say privacy invasion...your daughter is twelve and vulnerable...its not invasion its defense and protection....bullied kids commit suicide.....thats fact......she is exhibiting signs of depression....take it seriously....always....if you find bullying you will know where and what they are saying to undermine her mental health

i understand she doesnt want to talk to strangers ...but this girl needs some therapy too...........i never told my parents how badly i was bullied at school and on the bus to and from school.........they worked full on and i didnt want to put pressure on them my mum was tired when she got home from work and weekends i didnt want to spoil when we would go out and go to the i just ended up never saying anything and putting on an act....

one of my favorite teachers though noticed my withdrawal.....and got the school counsellor first i didnt speak ...i would just sit in there and cry..which i couldnt do at home.....and it beat sitting in the school toilets crying.........eventually i opened up about the bullying in her room...a safe place......sometimes i would talk...or sometimes she just handed me tissues when i didnt want to speak.....

when she goes back to school get her a referral to the school chaplain or counsellor......find out if she is still being bullied...know your enemy......your childs enemy.....know what the turds are your daughter..if they are indeed still hard at work at bullyiong you can combat the words that are damaging not contact them....just could blow it up....massively.....

concentrate at the axis of on building your daughter to be strong enough to face this...let her know she has you matter not confront the will not end well.....for anyone....go through proper channels if this needs to be done.........and get your daughter some support.......deb
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born by the lips i lose and lips that I've kissed.....

Last edited by todreaminblue; 30th June 2017 at 6:22 PM..
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Old 30th June 2017, 6:30 PM   #8
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She sounds seriously depressed. Is she self-harming?

What is she doing on her phone all day? Who is she in contact with and what is occupying her time while on there?

You need to find out because although you say she shares everything with you she may very well be keeping her darkest thoughts hidden, I'm sorry to say.
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Old 1st July 2017, 4:36 AM   #9
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Your daughter sounds depressed and probably suffering from anxiety because of the bullying and feeling insecure. It's ruined her self confidence and she needs professional help. Please get her to a trained therapist who specializes in anxiety and depression. (it's called CBT) She may have to go on medication depending on how severe her depression is. It'll only get worse if untreated.
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Old 1st July 2017, 10:04 AM   #10
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She is demonstrating all the signs of serious depression, which is so incredibly sad at 12 years old. My heart breaks for your daughter. I would suggest that you talk with her doctor and find a child psychologist immediately.

The first thing that I would do is take away her phone or seriously monitor what is happening on that phone. It is quite possible that she is being bullied and that is very concerning. the warning signs that she is displaying should not to be dismissed, because the risk of self harm and suicide in the teen years is serious.

I hope you can find her some help so that she can find joy in life again.

Last edited by BaileyB; 1st July 2017 at 10:10 AM..
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Old 1st July 2017, 4:46 PM   #11
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Hey :)

Originally Posted by ItsAllConfusing View Post
What steps can I take? :/
I would try these two books

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

The Highly Sensitive Person:
How To Thrive When The World Overwhelms You
by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.

If, and I'm not saying she is, your daughter is of a sensitive/introvert personality type she may feel like a square peg in a round hole in a society that is geared toward extroverts.

If the books detail things/reactions she is familiar with, they will help her to see herself and her trait in a more positive light.

you're daughter is wonderful, just a little hard to reach

Copies can be had quite cheaply on the well known internet auction site thingybay
"That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true." - Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791
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Old 1st July 2017, 5:31 PM   #12
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Still thinking about your darling daughter...

Please, try to find a counsellor or a child psychologist for her. Antidepressants certainly have their place, but at 12 years old I would personally chose a to find a good counsellor before medication for my child. And certainly, she should not be taking medication without counselling to discover what is causing/contributing to her depression.

Best wishes.
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Old 2nd July 2017, 9:53 PM   #13
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Reading this gave me chills. At 12 and 13 I was your daughter. Bullied at school for being ugly and I rarely talked at school because I wanted to be invisible. And I had no idea how to talk to my peers. At home or with people i was comfortable with I was talkative and funny and fun. But I hated school and was extremely shy, socially awkward and uncomfortable around kids my age. I had two close friends one who did not attend my school so if my friends were not around I just didn't talk to anyone. I was too intimidated to talk to anyone. I felt inferior and like I didn't fit in. Today I'm still an introvert I find being around large groups and strangers very draining but my social skills have definitely improved lol.

At your daughters age i was severely depressed and there is no way in hell I would have talked to a counselor about it. I didn't even talk to my parents. I just wrote long agonizing notes about how I hated my life. Be thankful she is talking to you about her concerns. She really trusts you. Give her hugs and unconditional love. Give her a compliment every day. Plan activities for the two of you that she enjoys.. Does she have any hobbies that she used to like? I know I was drawn to other shy or socially awkward kids because they were the only ones who didn't intimidate me and they were not mean to me. I wish i could tell u how I overcame my depression and social anxiety but I'm not sure I don't still suffer a little from both but I lead a productive life and have a good career. I know that once my appearance improved (bad skin glasses and braces equal kids picking on you) that I had more confidence in myself. And when I was 15 I found a hobby I really enjoyed and that helped me become more social. Maybe a change of scenery would do her some good? Volunteering at the daycare if she's comfortable with some of the adults who work there might help. Good luck and give your daughter a hug from me. I know how hard she's struggling!
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Old 2nd July 2017, 10:12 PM   #14
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Itsallconfusing, good for you having your daughter in counseling!

You are doing a great job as a parent getting on this early in her life and there are many things you can do for her.

First of all, remember that she's just beginning to have hormonal adjustments to make so am sure that's part of what's going on.

Do you work outside of your home? If so, what hours do you work and who takes care of your daughter while you work?

I believe preraph suggested getting your daughter involved in a camp where they do outdoor things such as water activities, horseback riding, etc.

I don't know if you can afford to do that or not but it's a great idea!

Your daughter really needs to be spending time outside and even if you don't get her in a camp you can begin taking her on walks out in nature. Get to a place where there aren't commercial establishments and walk with her at her pace. You need to have a big dog with you and/or other people as I don't believe it's safe for a woman and a girl to be out away from society alone. So be very careful.

But, if you can get her out-of-doors walking in nature surroundings on a regular basis you'll begin to see a change in her.

When you're doing this have her leave her phone at home or at least keep it with you so she won't be checking it. Also, begin cutting down on the time she's allowed to have her phone with her until she has it with her a minimal amount of time. Seems to me she'd be best off without her phone except when she's not with you and needs to stay in communication with you.

Since I don't know where you live I can't tell you what books to buy but you can buy little books that identify trees, birds, plants or other things in nature and the two of you can look for some of the things in the book together.

Do you belong to a church? That's another thing you can do with her.

Is your daughter artistic? Does she like music? Has she ever had an interest in any hobbies? What are areas in which she could excel?
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Old 2nd July 2017, 11:53 PM   #15
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Another thing that would be helpful for your daughter is to get her a pet.
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