Q. My 15-year-old son is smart, athletic and good-looking but has no friends. He can be loud and obnoxious in his quest to get attention from peers, but he's a great guy when he's not being a cocky know-it-all. It's so painful seeing him text everyone and not get a response. How do I guide him through this?
A. As frustrating and heartbreaking as this is for a parent to watch, sometimes our kids can learn valuable lessons when they're rejected socially. If your son is being intolerable, his peers aren't going to want to be around him and that should be the best motivation to modify his behavior. However, if he struggles with reading people's body language or tone of voice, he may have no idea what he's doing to cause his peers to exclude him and could need social skills training. Or he may have ADHD, making impulsive actions harder for him to control. These issues, too, can be improved with the help of a specialist. I'd also suggest that he take some time away from the other kids and sign up for a class or activity he's always wanted to try. It will give him an opportunity to reinvent himself over the summer so he can start fresh at school in the fall.
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.