Self Esteem And Your Child With ADHD
by Jennifer Shakeel
You know that your child has Attention Deficit Disorder, and dealing with that diagnosis on a daily basis is sometimes hard enough. What you may not realize is that with Attention Deficit Disorder, your child is also at a greater risk of having low self esteem. We all remember what is was like as a kid, kids can be mean and you are constantly wanting to measure up to the kids around you. Your child…my child is not like all of the other kids. They have ADHD and making sure that they have a strong sense of self and a good self image is extremely important.
There is no greater joy then seeing a child that is proud of an accomplishment. Seeing your child go after what they want and know that they can achieve their goal. When your child feels good about whom he or she is life is better. Many children with ADHD though struggle with their self esteem. They are embarrassed because of academic performance, perhaps their behavior in school makes them an easy target because they have to be reminded to stay on track.
I have lived through the days when my son who has ADHD has come home and told me that he is just not smart enough to do something. I have heard other children that are suppose to be his friends put him down when he talks about how well he has done on something with a comments like, “Why was it easy?” Every time I hear him say he is stupid I correct him. There are just some things that are not allowed in my house. Putting your self down and putting others down are two of them.
I tell my son often how smart he really is. We try to focus on the things that he excels at and work together on the things he struggle with. The truth is that most kids with ADD/ADHD are very smart, smarter then other kids their age in a lot of cases. The problem that children with attention deficit disorder have is concentrating and staying focused. What they need to hear is that they are smart and that all children learn differently and at their own rates. It doesn’t make them any more or less smart then their class mates.
For children to feel good about who they are they need two things. One is the sense that they are successful socially and academically. We all want to be accepted by our peers, children are no different. The other thing that children need to have good self esteem is the unconditional love of their parents. This isn’t an either/or situation, this is what children need, both components are equally important. When one or both of these are missing you will hear your child say, “I hate my life.” Or you may hear them say, “I am dumb.”
We will hear our children say these things. So what you need to do is stop and think back over the last few days or weeks. Has there been a point where the frustration got the best of you and you reacted by doing or saying something to your child that you regretted? Is homework such an issue in your house that it causes a major upheaval to get your child with ADHD to sit and do his or her homework? These simple things that can get overlooked are situations that can cause your child with attention deficit disorder to have low self esteem.
Tension at home and academic problems at school and social issues together can all lead to your child developing low self esteem. If their behavior is causing negative treatment from their teachers, from their friends and family it is very important that you stop right now and think about the impact that it is having on your child.
There are things that you can do to help boost your child’s self esteem. First, make sure that if they are taking medication that the medication is doing what it is suppose to do. When you are feeling stressed or frustrated, before interacting with your child, take a deep breath remember that they do not have control over their behavior but you do have control over your own behavior.
Be encouraging and supportive with what they want to do. If they fail, point out that failure is really another opportunity for them to try again and figure out a better way. If they are struggling in school, your involvement with the teachers is essential. Get them tutors if needed, we went to Sylvan Learning Center for almost a year to help our son get to where he was more comfortable and confident with his academic performance.
Find what they are really good at and get them involved in clubs and with friends that are interested in the same types of things. If there isn’t a club for the activity, start one. It isn’t that hard, it just takes persistence and consistency.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse. As a mother of two incredible children, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting. One of my children has ADHD, our journey of learning to come to terms with the diagnosis and figuring out what works best for us has been a challenge and a joy. Our son was diagnosed about two and half years ago, and we have had our ups and downs, joys and sorrows. If I can just offer you one day of hope or one idea that may work to help you and your family then I know that my purpose has been fulfilled.
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