What is loneliness?
Loneliness can come from rejection, feeling different from one’s peers, or lacking the tools to make genuine connections. It's painful and isolating, but people can overcome loneliness by talking about their emotions and addressing whatever makes them feel alone.
What does loneliness look like for your child?
Loneliness can look different for every child. Some children may feel anger or irritability. Others may just want to pull away.
Talking to your child about loneliness
Start a conversation
Children can feel lonely when disconnected from their loved ones or wish they were more connected to their peers. To get a conversation going about loneliness:
- Openly acknowledge that sometimes people can feel lonely.
- Ask your child if they wished they had more closeness or company in their life.
- Ask your child if there’s anything you can do to help your child build new connections or strengthen old ones.
Understand the conversation
Everyone needs different levels of social support. Some children require more social contact to feel satisfied, while others need little. There’s not one “right” amount of company - it will come down to individual needs.
Children (and adults) can have a lot of company and still feel lonely. And they can have very little company and feel satisfied. Feeling connected tends to come down to:
- Having someone to share your worries with.
- Having someone to tell secrets to.
- Having a person or group make you feel connected and accept you for who you are.
Continue the conversation
Being lonely isn’t just a feeling you can get over in a day. Check in with your child to make sure their loneliness doesn’t lead to depression.