As a parent of a child diagnosed with ADHD, we know first hand the challenges that parents and kids face. We have 4 kids and I am a trained nursery nurse, yet from almost birth we knew that our son was different in a way. When he was a toddler, he was the child that could never sit like the other kids and was always on the go. I was fine with that and found ways to channel his energy levels from the minute that we got out of bed, his behaviours – we always tried to be positive.
Our son finally started school, and then the concept of sitting for long periods in a classroom setting was a major challenge. There were whispers at school from teachers and other other parents mentioning ADHD. Sam was happy so we just kept supporting him. I was at that point, of the belief that I was never going to medicate my boy, not even an option.
As parents we looked at diet and after trial and error found that he was best if he did not eat ANY processed foods – not always easy in a busy family, but we did it! Time rolled on and things got a little harder around age 8. Our son was at this point telling us that he found it so hard to sit and listen, follow directions and to stop himself from moving around the classroom.
This was the point that we decided to take Sam for an evaluation privately. He was nervous about meeting the child psychologist but after several relaxed meetings on his own we waited for the results. To cut a very long story short my wonderful, funny, caring boy was diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety Disorder and also tested gifted in the areas of Mathematics and Science (This is the kid with super poor grades haha).
Sam himself asked if he could try having medication, saying that he wanted to give it a try. He truly wanted to “be able to sit down and listen, and just be able to learn”. Ever positive and with the support of the school we not only tried the medication on a super low dose but also put other measure in place in the classroom, some of which we had already been doing in the classroom. https://www.verywellmind.com/help-for-students-with-adhd-20538
My son is now 19 and still loving and funny and is still in full time education. He stopped the meds several years ago and is doing great. Looking back, it was hard for us as parents, seeing this lovely boy who was labelled as “naughty”, “disruptive” struggle. I remember seeing the glances of other parents who frowned at us at playgroup for “not sitting at circle time” etc., shaking their head…bad mother…get your child under control etc… It was heart breaking at times and I wish that I had been able to access the resources then that I can now. There were some but noting like today.
Today I saw this article and feel that it is so important that kids with ADHD get as much support as possible and ensuring that their self confidence and self worth is supported is vital. Enjoy the read.
CHESHIRE KIDs 🙂
Build Self-Esteem in Your Child With ADHD
Children with ADHD may think they’re different from their classmates and feel isolated and worthless. Parents can step in and help their child build self-esteem and confidence.
Self-esteem can be a problem for many children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They often feel bad about themselves because they don’t do well in school and may start to believe that they are stupid. Teachers often discipline them in front of their classmates for interrupting, not staying seated, or forgetting their homework. Because they can be disruptive, they may not be invited to parties or asked to join in activities with other children. All of these things can invite negative thoughts and self-perception. Parents and teachers need to look out for a possible loss of confidence and work with the child to build self-esteem.
Here are seven ways you can help your child with ADHD build confidence in her abilities:
- Regard ADHD as a gift, not a disability. You and your child need to understand that he is different from others his age. But being different isn’t the same as being bad or worthless, says Billi Bittan, PhD, an ADHD coach and therapist in private practice in Tarzana, Calif. “People with ADHD can be great,” she says. To prove it to your child, tell him about some of the famous people who had or have ADHD. One of the best known is the great swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Others include Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Alfred Hitchcock, and Robin Williams.
- Express your love. Let your child know that you love her. Some days may be more difficult than others, and it may be then that she needs to hear it most. Set aside a special time every day for you and your child to do something together like read a book, go for a walk, or play a game. This time together can help your child know she is special to you.
- Break large tasks into smaller ones. If your child is given a large project in school, help him break it into smaller parts. Trying to tackle the whole project at once can be overwhelming, but if you break it up, it’s more manageable. Be sure to give praise as he completes each part. This will help him feel more accomplished and be more willing to finish.
- Work with your child’s strengths. Discover your child’s strengths. It could be art, sports, computers, cooking, dancing, or a mechanical ability. If you build on these strengths by providing the time and opportunity for your child to pursue activities she likes and does well, it will help her develop a sense of pride and accomplishment. Find a club that fits your child’s interests and enroll her. Participating in a group, team, or class can bolster her self-esteem.
- Track and reward progress. When your child does something well, make note of it. Be specific in your compliments. Say, “I’m really proud of you for trying so hard and cleaning up your toys.” That’s more effective than simply saying, “Good job.” Keep a chart to help your child remember his chores and mark them off as soon as each one is completed. He will see his accomplishments and feel better about what he has done. Remember that immediate rewards work better than the promise of a reward later, but they don’t have to be big: a hug or picking the story to read at bedtime can be enough.
- Give your child the opportunity to make decisions. It might be as simple as what shirt to wear, what toy to play with, or whether to do her math or English homework first. Allowing your child to make decisions for herself will empower her and make her feel more capable.
- Be positive. Don’t tell your child “You did that all wrong.” Rather look at what they might have done right and ask “What else can we do to make it better?” Bittan suggests. If your child makes a mistake, don’t harp on it. Let him know that it’s okay because “no one is perfect,” Bittan says. Take the more positive attitude that mistakes are an opportunity to learn. One trick is to start your sentences with “I like.” Most likely, you will be less critical than if you start with “You.” For example, “I like the way you read the first page,” rather than “You didn’t finish and read a lot of words wrong.”
Self-esteem can be a major issue for a lot of kids with ADHD, but it can be overcome. Rather than focus on how your child is different, build on what he does right and help him gain confidence in his abilities.