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Teenage Daughter Struggles to Find Friends in High School


My 15-year-old daughter is struggling to make friends in her first year of high school. She does not want to go to school and only has one friend there. Her grades are not suffering, but it hurts my heart to see her crying because she just spent the past eight hours alone. She also thinks she is ugly. What can I do to help her self-esteem and to make friends at school?


Teen Daughter

Thanks for contacting us. It can be very frustrating to see your child struggling to adjust to a time in her life that should be one of her most exciting. Rest assured that while the transition to high school for her and many teens can be stressful and difficult, it does get better with time and patience.

Encourage your daughter to find things that she's interested in and be willing to try them out. Joining athletic, academic or activity clubs in or outside of school is a great way to make friends and share common interests. While it can be a little frightening at first, your daughter must remember that there are other girls and boys who feel the same way she does and are looking for friendship, too.

Regarding her self-esteem and her looks, help her identify what she likes about herself (everyone has something). A new outfit or hairstyle might cheer her up. Often times when we change our appearance or reinvent​ ourselves just a little bit, it can be a major confidence booster. If she hasn't done this, you may want to spend a day or a weekend with her to see if it helps. Even though we know that real beauty comes from inside and that your daughter may already be a beautiful person, she needs to feel and see it for herself.

If you or your daughter would like to talk more in detail about what she's dealing with, we'd be happy to hear from you. Give our hotline a call at 1-800-448-3000 and talk to one of our trained professional counselors. We're available 24/7 and specialize in parenting and youth issues.