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Understanding the Difference Between a Lonely Kid and Loner

Another segment of the Real Moms of West Michigan with Tommy and Brook at STAR 105.7

I was listening to a report about the recent school shooting and they described the shooter as being “another loner” type child. It gave me chills and I wondered how we could do better at identifying these kids and getting them the help they need. I did a little research online and found some information.

Do I have a Lonely Kid or a Loner?

Some children prefer to be alone, they more of an introvert and that’s just part of their personality. We tend to call them shy.

Or there are children that go through rejection or they have what we call fren-emies and they have relationships that go back and forth between having friends and then not getting along, and that’s quite normal for kids.

This child might be upset when they feel rejected but it’s usually resolved in a matter of time and they have great days too.

But then there are children who are alone because they can’t seem to break the barriers of social circles. They rarely feel accepted or included and it bothers them. They hurt from the rejection.

They face one episode of exclusion after another. They could be the ones who are at risk for serious problems – depression, anxiety, even suicide or homicide.

A child facing normal social pain might be miserable because he’s not part of the “in-crowd,” but they’re not as at risk as the child who is not a part of any crowd and doesn’t have any healthy friendships.

We tend to think that it’s about being popular but it’s actually more about just being accepted.

Warning signs of these kids are:

  1. They feel helpless and unhappy

  2. unable to handle the ups and downs of daily life at home or in school

  3. when faced with stress, say things like, “I hate my life” and “I wish I were dead.”

Obviously, these are huge red flags and we need to get our kids some outside help.

Some of the ways we can help our introverted children is:

  1. Provide a variety of group opportunities. Offer them more “circles.”

  2. Church groups, scouts, drama club, sports teams, karate – these all provide an alternative to school as a place for a child to make friends and gain acceptance.

  3. Teach socially awkward children basic skills for getting along, such as how to guess what other people are feeling, how to join a group and how to make friends.

When students were asked what parents or teachers should do to help with social problems like teasing and bullying. They all shout, “Nothing! Stay out of it! You’ll only make things worse!”

However, if I ask the question a little differently, and invite them to think about anything an adult has ever done to help them thorough a difficult social situation, they will often say, “Someone listened to me.”

Moms, be vigilant, pay attention. Listen to your child.

If you need outside help, places like Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services are a great resource and they can point you in the right direction for getting help.

I also found a lot of great info at:

 And most importantly, pray. The Lord loves our children more than we do. He created them. Psalms 46:1  God is our refuge and strength,  always ready to help in times of trouble.

Listen in West Michigan at STAR 105.7 on Tuesday mornings at 7:05 or listen live online at iHeart radio: STAR 105.7 on iHeart

Find Tommy and Brook online: STAR 105.7 Facebook Twitter: @TommyAndBrook

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