Data and Statistics
Cost of ADHD
The Science of ADHD
The Importance of Science
Understanding Research Studies
Levels of Evidence for ADHD Interventions
Treatment of ADHD
Complementary and Other Interventions
Neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback)
Fish Oil Supplements and ADHD
Nutrition and ADHD
Questions and Answers
Carrying Your Medication
ADHD, Sleep and Sleep Disorders
Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Tics and Tourette Syndrome
Professionals Who Diagnose and Treat ADHD
Hospital and University ADHD Centers
Insurance and Public Benefits
The Insurance System
Paying for Medications
Private Health Insurance
Public Health Insurance
Frequently Asked Questions about ADHD
Myths and Misunderstandings
Glossary of Terms
ADHD in the News
Fact Sheets on ADHD
For Parents & Caregivers
Parent Training and Education
Social Skills Interventions
Coexisting Conditions in Children
Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
Substance Abuse and ADHD
Common Coexisting Conditions in Children
Preschoolers and ADHD
Behavioral Therapy for Young Children
ADHD and Childcare
Diagnosing ADHD in Adolescence
Treatment of Teens with ADHD
ADHD Information for Teens
Parenting Teens with ADHD
Questions and Answers
Teens with ADHD and Driving
Teens and Driving
Medication Abuse and Diversion
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Requesting an Evaluation in Public Schools
Tips for Working with the School
Tips for Talking to Teachers about ADHD
Finding the Right College
Disclosing ADHD During the Admissions Process
Succeeding in College with ADHD
Scholarships & Financial Aid
Questions and Answers
Tips for Completing Homework
How to Communicate with your Child’s Teacher
Homework Help for ADHD
Surviving the Holidays with ADHD
Diagnosis of ADHD
Diagnosing ADHD in Adults
ADHD and the Military
How to Succeed in the Workplace
Laws and Legal Protections
Americans with Disabilities - ADA & ADAAA
Legal Rights in Higher Education and the Workplace
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Finding an Attorney or Legal Advocate
Living with ADHD: A Lifespan Disorder
Women and Girls
ADHD Medication and Pregnancy
ADHD and Driving
Organization and Time Management
Relationships & Social Skills
Marriage and Partnerships
Social Skills in Adults with ADHD
Mastering Social Skills
Time Management: Step-By-Step with a Day Planner
Apps for ADHD
For Healthcare Professionals
Clinical Practice Guidelines
The ADHD Diagnostic Process
Diagnosis in Adults
Diagnosis in Children
Clinical Practice Tools
Evaluation and Assessment Tools
Rating Scales and Checklists
Treatment of Adults
The Role of Medication
Teacher Training on ADHD
Tips for Teachers Video Series
Recursos en español
Tips and Resources
Medical Benefit Program
Start a Group
Current CHADD Volunteers
Volunteer Leader Center
Login to your CHADD email
Edit your website
Other Local Support Resources
Find a Study
Post a Research Study
Young Scientist Awards
CHADD's Amazon Store
P2P On Demand Webinars
CHADD Advocacy Manual
Training & Events
Save the Date - 2018 Conference on ADHD
Call for Papers - 2018 Conference on ADHD
2017 Annual International Conference on ADHD
2017 Conference Web Site
Pre Conference Handouts -Thursday 11/9/17
General Conference Handouts -Friday 11/10/17
General Conference Handouts - Saturday 11/11/17
General Conference Handouts - Sunday 11/12/17
Conference Program Book
Order the 2017 CHADD Conference In-A-Box
ADHD Awareness Month
ADHD Awareness Month Calendar
Ask the Expert
Ask the Expert Educator Edition
Parent to Parent Program
P2P On Demand Sessions
Family Training on ADHD In Your Community
Teacher to Teacher
Teacher to Teacher - School System
Training for Professionals
Health Care Providers
Training for Parents
Transitioning to Adulthood
Find a Chapter
Local Affiliate Resources
Tools and Resources
Start a Group
Recruitment & Retention Tools
Renew My Membership
The ADHD Tool Kit
Membership Types and Benefits
Get Listed in CHADD's Resource Directory
JOIN CHADD - International Membership
JOIN CHADD - US Membership
Attention Magazine Subscriptions
Attention Magazine - Digital Editions
CHADD Discount Advantage Programs
Mission and History
National Resource Center
Boards and Staff
Board of Directors
Professional Advisory Board
Public Policy Committee
CHADD Funding Sources
Advertise with CHADD
2018 Annual Meeting - Exhibitor Information
Jobs at CHADD
Report a Problem
Gifts that Lead
Gifts that Sustain
Gifts that Double
Other Ways to Donate
Corporate Partner Members
Donate Your Vehicle
ADHD Weekly Newsletter
Build Self-Esteem in your Child with ADHD
Join the discussion.
Your child forgot to turn in his homework. Again. He struggled with organizing information into an assigned report. He works five times as hard for a passing grade as his schoolmates do. He talks too much, interrupting his peers, and is ostracized on the playground. He comes home feeling sad and withdrawn. What can you, his parent, do?
has drawn a direct line between ADHD (particularly its inattentiveness) and low self-esteem. But
has shown that parenting approach and style can directly affect a child’s self-esteem.
“Parental reflective functioning”
is a term for the capacity to reflect upon (recognize, understand and accommodate) your child’s internal mental experience. For example, you can recognize the anxiety he may feel when he makes mistakes or has a hard time doing something, and proactively engage with him/her in ways to promote self-worth and confidence. This parenting style—a practiced and learned skill—is necessary to develop cognitive abilities in your child and enable emotional regulation and healthy social relationships.
On the other hand, because your child’s challenging behaviors can take a toll on you, practicing reflective functioning toward your own mental experience—recognizing when you are stressed and adapting your behaviors accordingly—is important in order to maintain a positive balance in your interactions with your child.
So how can you do this?
Practice a two-step process: Praising for things your child accomplishes, and recognizing/noting the challenges that made it hard for your child to do it.
Frequent negative feedback can undermine your child’s self-esteem.
Recognize your child’s successes, no matter how small.
Make an effort to notice when your child is paying attention well or doing what he is supposed to be doing
as well as what skills and discipline he had to apply in order to do it.
Tell your child exactly what he did well
not just the general “good job!” but specifically “I love how you took the time to think about the assignment and organize your outline!” This can not only improve your child’s self-esteem, but also reinforce his understanding of what it takes to accomplish something, so he can engage the same skill again. This can also teach him to notice gradual improvements, rather than being too hard on himself.
Articulate what mental or emotional challenges he may have had to overcome in order to succeed in this instance. “I know you may have been distracted by other thoughts, but you worked real hard to overcome those in order to stay on task. Way to go!”
ADHD often confers
that are of great value.
Identify your child’s strengths.
She may not be good at reading but she’s the next Picasso. He may not be good at writing reports but he intuitively generates creative new ideas, like the next Steve Jobs or Rube Goldberg. Recognize, praise, and leverage those strengths, so that your child will have a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Recognize that he may be feeling some residual anxiety after school and that he needs “wind down” time to do something he’s good at. Articulate that dynamic, so that he develops the skill to recognize his own feelings and how to deal with and overcome them.
Make sure your child has the opportunity to be successful while pursuing these activities, and that his strengths aren’t undermined by untreated ADHD. And don’t spoil the fun by withholding activities he loves as “reward” for doing the things he doesn’t love (like cleaning his room).
Help your child work through activities that are hard for him by
breaking tasks down into small incremental components or steps.
Recognize accomplishments at each step; that will build confidence, encourage him into the next step, and also teach the skill of breaking down tasks himself into manageable sub-tasks—an organizational skill.
Many children may resort to “horizontal storage” for their toys by covering every inch of the floor in their rooms. Sit with your child and step him through the cleanup one category at a time. “All the red trucks—where shall they go?” “Great! Now all the blue cars—where shall they go?”
And when it’s all done, “I love how you patiently organized your toys into categories
now you’ll know where everything belongs!”
Set aside a daily special time for you and your child.
A special time, whether it’s an outing, playing games or just time spent with your child in positive interaction, can help fortify your child against assaults to self-worth. It also reinforces healthy attachment;
has shown that insecure attachment impedes development of a positive self-image and is associated with ADHD.
Practice social skills with your child.
Children with ADHD may be rejected by their peers because of hyperactive, impulsive or aggressive behaviors. Do role-playing with your child, through several social scenarios. Ask him to anticipate how someone, such as a friend, may feel if he were to do certain things or behave in a certain way. Ask your child to act that out. Then ask him to imagine a different way of behaving, which would not make the friend upset or annoyed. Agree on one-word “codes” or “signals” representing each preferred action. Then invite one of his classmates over for a supervised play date, and when necessary call out the relevant code words to signal your child to choose the more effective behavior he practiced.
Tell your child that you love and support him or her unconditionally.
There will be days when you’re exhausted, angry, stressed, and it’s hard to feel loving. Recognize those times and grant yourself permission to breathe and reflect on how your child is feeling. This is when it is even more important that you acknowledge the difficulties your child constantly faces and express your love. Let your child know that you will get through both the smooth and rough times together.
For more help:
advocated by experts
as a vital component of multimodal treatment, which provides the greatest likelihood of improvement in children with ADHD.
Parenting a Child with ADHD fact sheet
How do you help your child’s self-esteem?
Children with ADHD often suffer from poor self-esteem. Daily academic and social failures can take a toll on confidence. How can you help build your child’s self-esteem?
This article appeared in
November 09, 2017.
The information provided on this website was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number NU38DD005376 funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services.