Loneliness NZ

Signs of loneliness in children

As an adult reading this section to consider how a child might be displaying signs of loneliness, we have picked out the more visible signs.  Children are likely to also feel a range of emotions which might become more clear with further questioning. They too might display signs of ‘addiction’ in terms of habitual behaviour.
Please read this page in conjunction with the general section Signs of loneliness where we discuss the complexity of loneliness, and the point when you might become concerned.

Signs common to children and adults

  • Constantly talking or looking for people to talk to – looking for more social interaction.
  • Attention seeking – these can be as either or both good and bad behaviours.
  • Withdrawing from others – possibly because it’s easier than having to make an effort to interact, or you have given up trying.
  • Lacking social skills – you act inappropriately and make insensitive comments for the situation.

  • Generally feeling unwell – you may actually be unwell, or you may be focussing more on how you are feeling.
  • Having low self-esteem – overly concerned with failure and seeing the negative in what people say or do.
  • Sadness and crying easily – feeling low frequently and sometimes seemingly as for no reason.

Signs specific to children

  • Imaginary friends – so that they have playmates all the time.
  • Behavioural problems – any deterioration in behaviour might be a result of loneliness.
  • Being excluded by other siblings – this could be a vicious cycle of the poor behaviour by the lonely child, or the siblings being unreasonable, lacking their own social skills.

Other signs of loneliness

To explore other signs of loneliness, please click the coloured box of interest.

Physical signs

Within yourself

Interacting with others