ADHD Children Often Hear These Words:
“Stop interrupting me!”
“You need to focus.”
“You failed the test because you made a lot of careless mistakes.”
These are some of the many phrases children with Attention Deficit- Hyperactivity Disorder hear all the time. ADHD is defined in two categories, inattention, and hyperactivity. Hyperactivity may look like a child who is constantly moving, has difficulty sitting still, and a lack of impulse control. Inattention can lead to not following directions, drifting off into space, and forgetting things. These behaviors can make it difficult for teachers, parents, and other instructors to guide and teach children. Obviously, it can be hard to teach a child that won’t sit still. It can be annoying to be constantly interrupted by a student.
ADHD behaviors can affect a child’s relationship with their peers too. Inattention can present when you are learning something new about someone and it can hurt a friend’s feelings you don’t remember their name or an important detail about them. Impulse control can hinder a child’s ability to be a team player—no one wants to play ball with someone who plays too aggressively or doesn’t take turns.
As such, ADHD’rs hear a lot from the people around them about how they need to change.
“You’re too rough!”
“It’s not your turn yet!”
“I already told you this.”
One can imagine, being constantly criticized can wear on a child’s self-esteem. For some, an early ADHD diagnosis can be helpful. Parents and teachers who understand the ADHD diagnosis are more apt to be patient and forgiving. The sooner the child receives the diagnosis, the earlier parents and teachers can learn to redirect in a kind way and provide the child the best support they need. But for those that are diagnosed later in life, the road may look very different. Many children are kicked out of school after school because they appear “non-compliant” with school rules.
“He can’t keep his hands to himself.”
“We already gave him two warnings.”
“She just doesn’t listen.”
After many school suspensions, many parents find a sense of relief with an ADHD diagnosis. Their child is not a “bad kid,” their child’s brain just works a little different. In fact, the ADHD brain is very special. Those with ADHD demonstrate creativity, a high intellect and deep empathy for others.
With support from a therapist, medication and school accommodations, children with ADHD go on to be very successful academically and socially. However, the damage done by many years of being undiagnosed may continue to affect their view of themselves.
How to help your child’s self-esteem.
Point out more of the good than the bad
Make sure you compliment your child when you see them using patience and wait their turn. Notice their creative strengths and their intelligence.
“I can tell you can’t wait to jump in the pool, thank you for waiting for mommy.”
“Even though your brain was going too fast to remember this, you worked really hard on studying this time.”
Forgive fast, forget easily
When your child interrupts you or breaks something in the house it is ok if you have a natural reaction of frustration. But let your anger go as soon as possible.
Example: “Honey, I know you don’t mean to, but you have interrupted me several times. How about you look at me in the eyes so I can finish what I need to tell you and then you can say something.”
Teach them about their diagnosis
Your child may be the only one in the family or the classroom with ADHD, but they are not alone. They need to know how common ADHD and other learning disorders are. Plus, the more they know about how their brain works, the more they can advocate for themselves and become self-aware. Here is a great resource we recommend
Learning to Slow Down and Pay Attention by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D and Ellen B. Dixon, Ph. D
Set them up for success
Be conscientious of what their brain and body need. Adequate sleep, less screen time, hydration, plenty of movement, and nutritious food all contribute to more impulse control and sustained attention. We can’t be perfect all the time, so when they have a hard day, own your part in it. “Next Sunday we will go on a walk before bed instead of watching tv.”
Giving your child the gift of therapy can be wonderful for their self-esteem. In the therapy process, your child will learn tools to help regulate their bodies and their emotions, creating more success in the classroom and in relationships. Moreover, in the therapeutic relationship, your child will have a gentle, kind, and caring adult that is there for them consistently. Such a relationship can help to mitigate all those previous unpleasant moments with adults who didn’t understand, who judged and rejected the child.
ADHD Therapy in Houston, TX 77077
ADHD is a superpower! We know this because at BPC we have four amazing counselors diagnosed with it! Schedule a FREE PHONE CONSULTATION today to get learn more about how BPC can support you and your family.