ADHD and Your Baby’s Self-Esteem

Devon P.’s son was about 5 years outdated when he discovered that he has consideration deficit hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD) in 2018. Whereas in preschool, Devon says he confirmed lots of the hallmark signs for ADHD, like never-ending vitality, hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity. He was additionally having bother studying.

However what caught Devon’s consideration most is when it took a toll on her younger son’s vanity.

“He was having trouble making friends. He would say things like, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ ‘Why am I always being sent to the counselor all the time?’ or ‘I just want to be in class with my friends,’” stated the Texas native and social employee who needed to make use of simply her final preliminary to guard the id of her son.

The Connection

ADHD could make it onerous to focus. So, in case your youngster does have ADHD, they’re extra more likely to get unhealthy grades, detentions, and suspensions. Additionally they might need unhealthy social abilities and should face rejection from their friends.


Mother and father, associates, and different authority figures like lecturers and caregivers could lose endurance, get annoyed with them, and should attempt to criticize and “correct” their conduct.

“There’s lots of negative feedback coming from all of these different directions, and they internalize that and start to feel really badly about themselves,” says Andrea Chronis-Tuscano, PhD, a professor of psychology and director of the College of Maryland ADHD Program.

A number of research discover that as youngsters with ADHD develop into adults, their vanity tends to drop over time due to mounting criticism and difficult life experiences.

In extreme instances, Chronis-Tuscano says, low vanity could make melancholy and suicide extra probably.

However there are issues you are able to do to intervene early and assist enhance your youngster’s vanity.

Know What You are Dealing With

Specialists say studying in regards to the root reason for the conduct might be step one in bringing a couple of sense of aid to each dad and mom and youngsters — and the sooner, the higher. This manner, dad and mom and their youngsters can tackle the challenges that include dwelling with ADHD and construct on methods to make issues higher.


Discuss to a pediatrician or a therapist about your kid’s conduct. In the event that they want the care of a specialist, your medical staff can level you in the proper route.

Devon says she waited a couple of yr to strive completely different methods with the college to alter his conduct. Some relations advised her she was worrying an excessive amount of and that “boys will be boys.” However finally, she took him to a behavioral pediatrician who recognized him with ADHD.

Nicole Vredenburg heard comparable phrases from her relations when she tried to get assist for her 5-year-old son. However Vredenburg, who has grownup ADHD and has a brother with the situation, determined to belief her intestine.

“I feel like people wait too long,” she says. “I would always say if there’s ever a question, go for that first initial diagnosis. I’m so glad that I did that so young.”

ADHD can run in households. Analysis says you’re 9 occasions extra more likely to get it if a detailed relative has it. About the identical time that Vredenburg’s son was recognized, her 9-year-old daughter discovered that she additionally had ADHD.

What Mother and father Can Do

In case you have a youngster with ADHD and low vanity, consultants say there are particular issues you are able to do to construct in your youngster’s self-worth and confidence. Docs name this “parental reflective functioning.”

Make it a degree to acknowledge, perceive, and accommodate for a few of your kid’s ADHD signs that may result in low vanity.

For instance:

Acknowledge your youngster’s successes — large or small. Chronis-Tuscano encourages dad and mom and lecturers to give attention to the optimistic issues as an alternative of declaring what they’re battling.

“[We] train them to look out for the positives and even the efforts — even the small improvements — that are things that may be difficult for them. If you see them after school sitting down right away to do their homework, to say, ‘well, you know, you did great!’” she says.

Give a number of reward. Giving credit score and being particular about it could result in optimistic reinforcement in your youngster. Not solely can that enhance your youngster’s vanity, however it additionally may also help them perceive what it takes to perform fundamental duties.


Vredenburg says she provides “tons of praises” and does it typically.

“I praise the littlest thing that may seem so menial, like, ‘Wow, I like that you opened you book bag the first time I asked you.’ It’s small, but I want to build upon something [they] did well.”

Establish their strengths. Give attention to what your youngster is already good at and encourage them to pursue it. This could enhance their delight and sense of accomplishment.

Mother and father can do that by serving to their youngsters with ADHD “find their niche,” Chronis-Tuscano says.

“Find a career and a path where they can really capitalize on their strengths, and where their difficulties are not so impairing for them,” she says.

“A lot of adults with ADHD could be in these thrilling careers the place they don’t seem to be sitting at a desk, checking knowledge entry or issues that require quite a lot of consideration. However they’re up and shifting round, like ER medical doctors or they’re consultants and entrepreneurs.


“It’s about finding the best match for them,” Chronis-Tuscano says.

Break down tasks and make them fun. If your child finds certain activities hard to do, experts say it helps to break them down into small, manageable tasks. This way, you can give them a chance to be successful. It can include a reward for doing things they don’t necessarily like.

“My son is a math genius,” Devon says. “But when it comes to reading, it’s polar-opposite. So, if he has to do literature, I better make it interesting.”

If her son has to read a list of books for school, she lets him alternate his readings with his favorite comic book.

Model good behavior. To cut down on negative feedback your child might get, you may have to show them what good behavior looks like.

“Basically, the adults around them need to model for them how to regulate their own emotions,” Chronis-Tuscano says.

Find or ask for help if you need it. Children with ADHD may need help to get through school tasks like homework and other chores at home. You may not be able to provide all of the support and help they need. If you can’t manage the demands, it’s OK to ask for professional help.


“Even though I want to be the most knowledgeable person in their life, it’s really difficult when you’re in it and you have the emotions invested,” Vredenburg says. “So, I know that I need other people like my village to help me to do the best in the house.”

Vredenburg, who had to also manage her own ADHD symptoms, chose to bring in a professional to find ways to help her kids with homework and learning.


Most often, medical doctors have a tendency to decide on remedy greater than stimulant drugs as the first line of treatment to deal with low self-esteem tied to ADHD. Your doctor may refer you to a therapist or child psychologists who specialize in ADHD-related problems. They may need organization skills training and cognitive behavioral therapy.

“A lot of times, people with ADHD who do well have employed a number of different strategies, like using a calendar system and a prioritized task list. And those are skills that they’re not going to learn from medication,” Chronis-Tuscano says.


Navigating through the ups and downs of ADHD may leave you feeling exhausted. But parent training can help you build skills and give you the right tools to get your child the best support.

You may learn how to teach your child positive behaviors and skills at home. This can help them adapt at school and in their relationships with other kids. It can also help them improve their self-esteem and self-control.

If training and therapy do not work, your youngster’s physician could prescribe remedy. Those for ADHD, which you’ll hear your physician name stimulants, could assist your youngster focus and obtain their targets. They might assist handle your kid’s general conduct, too.

In case you have any hesitations or issues about medicines, discuss to you physician about them.

On the finish of the day, Vredenburg says it’s about reminding your youngster that they’re greater than the situation.

“They need to know, ‘I’m not ADHD. I have ADHD.’ And so, it’s about trying to give them the right tools so they can do the work to bring up their self-esteem.”

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