Ask Kari: We just moved to Issaquah — how can I help my son make new friends?

Dear Kari,

My 12 year-old son is struggling with making new friends. We moved to Issaquah last year, but he still doesn’t have anyone who he can hang out with on a regular basis. I often find him just sitting in front to the computer, either bored watching You Tube or searching the Internet. How can I help him develop more friendships with other kids?

--Mom of a Lonely Teen

Dear Mom of a Lonely Teen,

You sound like a very thoughtful mother who is trying to grow her child’s confidence and spirit. Being 12 and in middle school is a tough time; and moving and making new friends sometimes is tricky and sometimes has nothing to do with your child’s social skills. Two things I recommend: First, continue to be involved in your child’s daily routine and you yourself serve in the role of social partner by doing activities together (going to the movies, bookstore, out to dinner, volunteer at a non-profit, etc.). Second, encourage your son to join a sport and/ or club through school that he feels interested in. Skill is not important, just going to an activity where you interact with others typically helps develop acquaintances and friendships’ that hopefully will allow your son to grow into more permanent bonds with other children.


As published in the September 2013 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.