Peer Relationships and Understanding Real Friendship-How Far My Exceptional Son Has Come


Last night at dinnertime Michael started talking about what happened at school during the day. He spoke about a violent altercation one of his classmates had with the teaching assistant. The behavior technician came in and the child went with her and was removed from the class. This is something that does happen from time to time at Michael’s school as the children have emotional challenges. It is well handled, but I was still worried about its effect on Michael. He told me he was smiling when the boy did it, but when I asked him if he thought it was funny he said no. I reminded him to think how he would feel if someone did that to me. “Oh boy. No, that’s terrible Mommy!”

But that was not what shocked me. What surprised me was that Michael is pursuing this boy in friendship. I have heard about this child from time to time how he will tell Michael he does not want to play with him, go away. My heart goes out to my little guy, even though when he recounts these stories to me he sounds more surprised that his “friend” would do that to him and puzzled as well. This opened up the floor for me to talk to Michael about what real friends are, and which people are either not your friends or casual friends at best. I asked him if the three really close friends he speaks of and has play dates with would ever have treated him the way this boy did. He said no. I asked him if they enjoyed playing with him and didn’t avoid him as this boy does. He agreed, yes they played with him all or most of the time. It was rare they did not want to play with him. While I was so happy that I was having such a regular conversation with my son about friends, it broke my heart that my little guy was trying to win someone over who clearly didn’t see him for who he was. I repeatedly, and in a gentle way, told Michael how special and good a friend he was, and if this boy didn’t see it, he wasn’t meant to be his friend. I reminded my little guy to cherish the good friends he has and not run after those who are not interested in him.

Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children do on play dates with friends or at school with peers? Are they chasing after kids that are not really friends? Hopefully they have found two or three really good friends and understand what friendship is. If not, it will come. As a parent, all you can do is encourage them and remind them how special they really are.

am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and GooglePlus. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website:

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