Why self-esteem is important
Children with ADHD generally have lower self-esteem than those without ADHD. As a result, children with ADHD may:
- Expect to receive more criticism and less praise than other children
- Feel bad about themselves, particularly in comparison with their siblings or other children
- Constantly feel that they have failed, even in day-to-day tasks such as being unable to sit still when asked
- Feel that they are failing their parents, for example through poor test and exam results
- Struggle with social situations, for instance they may experience difficulties in making and keeping friends
- Focus on the bad things they have done, rather than the good things in all the other parts of their life.
Therefore it is very important that parents, carers and teachers recognise that:
- There may be many valid reasons why children with ADHD sometimes feel bad about themselves
- How a child is praised, rewarded and disciplined can affect both how they see themselves and their development.
The effects of low self-esteem
Living with ADHD, children may have low self-esteem and self-confidence. They may have experienced stigma, as not everyone believes ADHD is a neurobehavioural problem, and some actually believe it is the fault of the child, or is due to poor or bad parenting. Children with ADHD may also suffer from anxiety or depression, which may undermine the efforts they make to build their confidence.
- A child who expects to fail may stop trying
- children with ADHD can find it hard to accept compliments
- If a child loses confidence, they may doubt what they can achieve.