How ADHD Affects Self Esteem in Children
Five percent of all school-aged children are officially diagnosed with ADHD and many more have the disorder but aren’t properly diagnosed. Behavioral and social difficulties set kids with ADD/ADHD apart from their peers. In a society where the goal is to blend in, this can have devastating affects on a child’s self-esteem. The effects of this can carry on well into adulthood. Statistically, more adults with ADHD are incarcerated every year, and adults with ADHD have a harder time functioning in the workplace. Low self-esteem is a major contributing factor to both of these. We need to get to the bottom of how ADD helps create low self-esteem in children, and how we can help children with ADD and ADHD to have better self-esteem.
How ADD Affects Self Esteem
Children with ADHD have behavioral and social issues. Researchers believe that executive brain dysfunction contributes to this. Much like an executive in a company, these basic functions control how we govern our lives.
Kids with ADHD struggle with time management, problem-solving skills, depression, and anxiety more often than their peers. This can cause social issues at home and in the classroom, singling the child with ADHD out as “different”. When a child fails to identify with his peers and be accepted by them, it affects his self-esteem. Self-esteem is based on what the child thinks of himself, how he thinks his peers feel about him, and how he thinks his family feels about him.
Because children with ADD are often drawn to the high action, quick gratification that video games and TV offer, they isolate themselves. These activities stunt social development, which exacerbates the problem for the child with ADD.
What Can Be Done to Prevent This?
The best thing the parent of a child with ADHD can do is focus on the child’s strengths. A child with ADD spends most of the day being criticized for his behavior by teachers.Find a sport or hobby the child does well and focus on that. Relate his success in the sport or hobby to his success in the classroom or at home. Never miss a chance to point it out when you see your child doing well.
Be positive when instructing your child to do something. Tone of voice and body language go a long way when dealing with children. Be specific in your requests and reward good behavior with positive reinforcement.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re in over your head. Parenting a child with ADHD is a constant challenge, and sometimes bringing a professional on board can help you come up with a game plan and act as a buffer between you and your child.
While self-esteem is an issue in children with ADD/ADHD, you can help your child learn coping skills to help alleviate the problem. Communicating with your child and working as a team with his school, and possibly a professional can give your child the security he needs to overcome low self-esteem.