When my son Tim was younger, he didn’t have a lot of friends. From a very early age, he didn’t relate well to other kids. He didn’t want to play with them. It wasn’t a matter of not wanting to share toys; he had no interest in people his own age and size. Adults thought he was charming because he would sit on their laps, giggle, and even flirt with them, but a small child can’t form a relationship with the occasional adult visitor. We let Tim’s lack of friends slide, describing it as one of Tim’s idiosyncrasies; another piece of shrapnel inflicted by the war on his mental illness. Until he went into residential treatment. There he met other teens like him with the same challenges, and through living with them, going to school with them, and playing sports with them; he made friends, for really the first time in his life. And I firmly believe that his friends have played a huge role in his stability.
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