It is quite common to feel isolated in adulthood; long distance friendships are basically the norm and everyone is so busy that it is difficult to connect. But children can also feel lonely, even if they are not really alone. These are some of the subtle signs of a lonely child .

If you grew up being a lonely child, perhaps you manifested these signs

Growing up, most of us are not taught about our feelings and our mental health. So if you’re a kid struggling with the uncomfortable feeling of loneliness, it’s easy to think that something is wrong with you.

What might appear to be “shy” or an “imaginative” child on the outside can sometimes be indicative of a deeper struggle. It is important to remember that young people experience loneliness, and we need to know the signs.

1. They talk incessantly

Children who are lonely will talk a lot . This attempt to make social connections often backfires because your constant chatter annoys others and causes them to avoid you. An adult dating back to his childhood was able to recognize this behavior in himself:

“You exaggerate when there is someone to talk to, because having no one for long periods of time makes you do so even if you realize that it is incredibly socially awkward.”

2. They constantly interrupt

Lonely children feel resentful when your attention is elsewhere. They will continually try to redirect the focus to themselves.

3. Attention in search of a behavior

The “look at me” for attention can be positive or negative. If the child knows that he can attract more attention with destructive tactics, he will.

4. A lonely child retires

On the other hand, some children withdraw and become isolated. They spend much of their time alone in their rooms. Although they may want social interaction, they may not know how to do it.

“I read a lot and before I could read I had a vivid imagination. When no one wants to play with you or you have no one to go out with at night as an adult, reading books is your best friend. That and my animals. – Jennifer D.

3. Pretend friends

An imaginary friend can simply be a sign of an active imagination, or it could be a symptom of loneliness. A woman says:

“I talk to myself and obsessively look at photos of musicians or actors and talk to them. I would live in my head and make friends with them. – Stephanie H.

6. Lack of social skills

Most lonely children can be socially awkward. This is a vicious cycle for the child because if they cannot make connections with their peers, they continue to feel lonely. This can be made worse if the bullying results from the inability to make social connections.

7. Low morale

Constantly seeking validation from others can disappoint a child with low self-esteem. All children are worthy of having friends, but they should not use the opinions of others to feel worthy.

In this digital age, a person can have many friends “online” but never interact with people in real life. Young people can begin to compare themselves to others who seem to have a perfect life, however the true reality is not portrayed on social media sites.

8. Anxiety

A lonely child can be shy , anxious, or lacking in confidence. Again, these factors could be a cause or a result of being alone.

9. Sadness

Children who cry inconsolably for no obvious reason may be exhibiting this behavior out of loneliness.

10. They verbalize it

When your child complains saying, “Nobody loves me,” or “I don’t have any friends,” these are more obvious signs that he is alone.

Looking back at your childhood, do you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself? How did you overcome them? Do you see these signs of loneliness in your own child? It often helps children if you can relate to these problems and offer some suggestions for resolution. Ask them if they choose to be alone or if they want to set up a game day.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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