No Longer Feeling Like A Failure
Those unfinished films are NOT proof Iâm a failure, any more than me NOT moving to Lithuania to become a chiropractor means Iâm failure. Thatâs just not my thing. Zero interest. And people with ADHD can be very âinterest driven.â
By understanding my particular âflavorâ of ADHD, my main symptoms, suddenly my past failures make sense. âOf course I never finished that course, it wasnât interesting...â
My focus becomes managing the most disruptive traits and playing to my strengths. I really struggle with stuff that others seem to find simple and Iâm late paying my taxes, again. Do I need to try harder? No. I need a bookkeeper.
Strengths are key to happiness. And success. And we each have a unique combination of strengths.
Hell, Einstein never wrote a hit single and Taylor Swift hasnât made breakthroughs in Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Not yet anyway.
Self-Esteem is built on successes, one after another, bigger wins, rising confidence.
But what if you donât notice the successes, or dismiss them as trivial, as flukes? A lifetime of failure and criticism, especially self-criticism, doesnât just disappear.
Save Discipline For Things Your Kid Does On Purpose
If your kid forgets to take out the trash after dinner, scolding them for their absent-mindedness wont do much besides embarrass them. Instead, try a gentle reminder.
So What Does A Parent Do
I am no expert in this arena, but there are a couple of things we’ve done that have helped our son.
1. Medication. My son’s ADHD, anxiety, and mood disorder are better-controlled thanks to a combination of medications. Now that he can manage the outbursts, lack of focus, and other typical ADHD symptoms, he succeeds more. He’s no longer failing at what everyone else insists should be “normal”, and we can now focus on more than just keeping him safe.
2. Special Education. It was a tough decision, but removing my son from mainstream classes was an amazing decision for him. His EBD classroom has only ten kids, which means he’s not overstimulated. Three adults manage the classroom, meaning he gets more one-on-one attention. Teaching is divided into 20-minute installments so that attention deficits aren’t an issue. As a result, my son always finishes his work. He does his homework every night without fighting because he knows he can do that work. The new classroom allows him to prove he’s not stupid or incapable. He had fought the decision initially, but now he loves his class and doesn’t want to change it.
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What Are The Signs Of Low Self
Signs of low self-esteem in children include:
- A reluctance to try new activities, possibly due to no longer feeling capable.
- Frequent negative comments being made about themselves, like, “Im useless,” etc.
- Socially withdrawing as they feel unable to interact with their peers, or may have received negative feedback.
- Diminishing opportunities or avoiding them, and being pessimistic about other options working out.
Signs of low self-esteem in adults include:
- Extreme sensitivity to any criticism you receive.
- Apologizing all the time even when there is nothing to be sorry for.
- Feeling as though your achievements are lucky, or due to external factors, while your failures or mistakes are all your fault.
- Defensiveness and hostility.
- Socially withdrawing.
Raising Low Self Esteem
Every book Iâve read on personal development, especially those on Self-Esteem, stresses the importance of having a realistic and healthy belief in our abilities. Not arrogant. Not blindly optimistic, but realistic. As in,
âWhen I was 17 I wanted to be a rock star. Now Iâm 57. So Iâm letting that one go. On the other hand, if I start practicing again, regularly, I could be a much better guitar player.â
Growing up with undiagnosed ADHD meant Iâd suffered all the familiar hits that youâve probably experienced too.
My parents and teachers were as frustrated with me as I was. The difference is that they never called me stupid, weak, or a loser. Only I did that.
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Help Them Solve A Problem
One of the best ways to teach your child that ADHD doesnt have to keep them from success is to tell them and show them. Consider helping your kids take on challenges that require them to use problem-solving skills.
Allow them to take breaks, but encourage them to continue until theyve solved the problem. Practicing problem-solving will give them confidence that they can tackle challenges in their own lives.
Getting And Giving Criticism
The best way for your child to deal with criticism is to:
- listen to what’s being said. Don’t interrupt to contradict or make excuses
- agree with it, where possible
- ask questions if unsure about anything
- admit mistakes and apologise
- calmly disagree if it’s unfair, eg by politely saying, ‘I don’t agree with you’.
There are times when criticism is necessary, but children with low self-esteem aren’t good at accepting criticism or giving it nicely.
How you give criticism is important. Criticism is the other part of making your child feel loved: sarcastic, negative comments can undo all your hard work to be encouraging. So is there such a thing as good criticism?
If you want to teach your child how to accept criticism, you need to give it in a constructive way.
This means being calm, not angry, and focusing on the behaviour you want to change instead of criticising the person. It also helps if you can find positive things to say to balance the criticism. Using ‘I’ tends to be less aggressive than ‘you’.
So, if your child is struggling with a piece of school work, don’t say ‘you’re stupid’, but ‘I loved the way you read the first page. It’s only a couple of words you’re stumbling on. That word is’
All these things apply when your child gives criticism. For example, ‘I like playing with you, but it’s too cold to play outside today.’
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How To Help Your Childs Self
First, we have to understand that paying attention is not a goal within itself. There is nothing morally good about being able to sit down and read a book for hours on end without interruption, just as there is nothing really morally bad with jumping from activity to activity.
Once we understand this, we can recognize focus and attention are really just tools. They help us accomplish our goals, be it in school, work, or relationships. They are not an end unto themselves.
Let your child know that there is nothing wrong with them. They are not bad kids because they have a harder time wielding their tools of focus and attention to accomplish tasks. They simply need to work on those skills and grow them.
Encourage your child to think in terms of symptoms, not identity. Its not, I have ADHD so Im bad in school, its I have a hard time focusing, so I need to find ways to work around it.
When Every Day Is A Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
Posted October 16, 2017
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder isn’t just about symptoms you can see. Sure, a child with ADHD can be fidgety, or overly talkative, or unable to focus. Hiding underneath that, though, may be intense anxiety, too. Maybe their lack of impulse control goes so deep they can’t even control their own thoughts. Then, after years of being punished more often than their siblings, or removed from classrooms day after day, they become angry and depressed. If your child is like mine, they start saying they’re worthless or a “bad” kid. Every day becomes a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
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The Importance Of Friends
As you work to help your child achieve academic success, see what you can do to improve her acceptance among her peers. Observe her as she interacts with them during free play, during structured activities, and in organized sports. Ask his teacher how he behaves in the classroom and on the playground.
Watch your child when he plays outdoors or when he invites a friend over . Is he too shy and fearful to be an engaging playmate? Is he too rough, or too retiring? Does she have trouble interpreting other childrens body language? Is she too distractible, impulsive, or hyperactive to play? Does he avoid sports because of poor motor skills or hand-eye coordination? Does she have trouble understanding the rules and strategies involved in team sports? In board games?
Once you have a sense of what your childs specific social problems are, look for solutions. Maybe he needs a different medication regimen or social skills group therapy. Maybe she can try a sport that doesnt require the same level of fine motor skills or hand-eye coordination.
Or maybe you can find a non-athletic activity he enjoys.
Its not easy to boost a childs self-esteem. But if you can love your child unconditionally, and if you are willing to do a little detective work regarding peer and school problems, your child should begin to feel better about himself. Good luck! I promise you that your child will appreciate your efforts.
Larry Silver, M.D., is a member of ADDitudes ADHD Medical Review Panel.
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Coaching with Marla was very useful, and also essential. I do not know what I would have done w/o the Sunday night periods of going over the past week, looking forward to the next week, and making a plan. The actual phone check ins on Tuesdayscrucial, to help me get clear, as well as for the simple act of accountability.Marla served as a focal point , andat timesas an anchor that grounded things. I can not imagine having had to go through the past 6 months w.o. someone outside me, and my life, to help me stay the course.Now, I feel more confident in my abilities, in what I have to offer. I realize I do have options. How freeing! Lastly, but certainly not least, I have a very, very clear sense of my values, and I am using those to guide me, and that helps me to trust in my course.
Through our workI clarified my goals, identified communication issues, fuzzy planning and established personal accountability. In working with Marla, I received practical organizing and planning techniques, inspiration and empowering suggestions. Marla helped me work with each issue as developing life skills and emphasized personal responsibility. Marla is an excellent coach and compassionate, encouraging mirror. I recommend her without any reservations.
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How Adhd Can Affect Self
Medically reviewed by Karin Gepp, PsyD Written by Emily Swaim onMay 2, 2022
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental health condition that can affect the structure of certain areas in your brain, making it hard to focus or restrain your impulses.
Many people misunderstand this mental health condition, assuming its a character flaw rather than a neurological disorder.
If you live with ADHD, you might have some firsthand knowledge of this yourself. People might:
- blame you for your symptoms
- say you just need to try harder
- suggest you can bootstrap yourself to normalcy through willpower alone
Of course, these things arent true. Your symptoms arent your fault. And just as you didnt choose to have ADHD, you cant will those symptoms away, either.
It probably goes without saying, but constant criticism, blame, and shame wont make ADHD go away. They could, however, lead to a drop in self-esteem.
Low self-esteem can lead to:
- difficulty pursuing goals or trying new things, often due to the assumption of failure
- isolation, often due to a fear of rejection or criticism from others
- difficulty saying no or enforcing other boundaries, often due to the desire to earn approval from others
Without a doubt, boosting self-esteem can improve quality of life. But in a society full of stigma, thats often easier said than done.
Read on to learn how to help yourself or a loved one with ADHD nurture a stronger sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
I Need You To Pay Attention
How it may affect your childs self-esteem: Self-esteem is tied to how kids feel about themselves and their own efforts. Saying I need you to tells kids that theyre doing something to please you, not themselves. Its hard for kids with ADHD to build positive self-esteem when they think theyre disappointing you.
Kids with ADHD can also forget what they were supposed to be doing. When you dont tell them exactly what you expect them to be doing, they wont know how to fix it.
What to say instead: What do you need to get done? Or, if you need to be more specific: I thought you were going to eat breakfast before school. You need to be ready to leave at 7:30.
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Change Your Relationship With The Negative Voice
While its unrealistic to completely eliminate negative thinking altogether, you can learn to reduce the power it holds. This is crucial for fostering self esteem and resiliencetwo key issues for women.
In order to reduce its power, you have to change your relationship to the negative voice. Point out that there is a difference between real life and the stories that you tell yourself about those events. These interpretations directly influence the way someone takes meaning from whatever occurred. Putting negativity outside of yourself reduces feeling wrong or bad. It also helps you acknowledge the critical feedback loops in your mind without being ruled by them.
How Has Adhd Affected Your Self
In the meantime, Id love to hear how ADHD has affected your self-esteem?
- What did you believe about yourself?
- Was there evidence to the contrary that you or others dismissed?
- Were there particular events of people who undermined your self-confidence when you were growing up?
- How did having undiagnosed ADHD erode your self-confidence and what did you do?
- And where are you at now
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Give Yourself Positive Feedback
How you were praised and disciplined as a child affects how you saw yourself then and how you view yourself today. Children with ADHD can receive more criticism than praise. As a grown-up, you might focus on all the things you did “wrong” or didnt do well because that has become your default mode.
From now on, for every criticism you give yourself, acknowledge two things that went well. This will help rebalance things which will help improve your self-esteem.
Warm Up Exercise In Pairs Or Threes What Has Worked For You Before In Boosting Your Self
- a strict plan i am prepared for and know how to recover from
- being clear on what i am and what i am not doing
- being prepared and having a plan
- do what i am supposed to do/knowing what i am supposed to do
- gym eating well
- having another provide me with a plan/keep on course
- read positive things about myself
- remember that it is the heart that counts, remind myself about my faith
- sticking to a healthy eating plan
- way of measuring things to stay on track
- affects every area of your life
- afraid to try new things
- avoidance of relationships and socializing
- get into any kind of addictive pattern, behavioural or chemical, i.e., food, booze, drugs
- have no boundaries > what is the boundary? communicate it impose a consequence for violating it
- higher rates of being bullied and sometimes being the bully
- problems maintaining and creating relationships
- social skills problems
- advertising industry
- being or imagined being ignored
- cluelessness, lack of specific skills
- completely giving up
- delusion that its just me and nobody else with problem x.
- fear of failure and also failing for real
- general criticism and if especially if you feel its not deserved
- inability to self-advocate
- low productivity, not completing things
- lying to cover up
- not living in the present
- not sticking to any kind of regulation
- unseen skills that are not acknowledged ex: credentials
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How To Raise Low Self