Preserving Self-esteem when ADHD is Present

Preserving the Self-esteem When ADHD is PresentAs an ADHD coach, I believe one of many important details to uncover pertain to school support. Without adequacy of support, the coach cannot totally do a successful job. After all, we coaches encourage, support, teach, and facilitate goals and action plans. But if needed accommodations and modifications are not in place, those action plans will be adversely affected.

Our gifted and intuitive kids with ADHD do not feel that way at all within the confines of school. Let me talk about a few areas that impact self-esteem:

  • Statements like, she needs to advocate for herself.
  • He really needs to get more organized.
  • A school psychologist states that an accommodation that a mom wants in the 504 cannot happen since we the administration cannot tell a teacher to do that.
  • She needs better study habits.
  • I wouldn’t worry. He is not failing.

Behind all of this are expectations that cannot be met. As a result, the child feels more inept, stupid, and so much more unlike the rest of his peers.

If a child “needs” to verbalize such advocacy, how will this happen when the impairments are related to the very real medical diagnosis of ADHD? Sometimes, the confusion that is felt by the child cannot be verbalized by him. In addition, the expectation is that he can do this. So why is he going to admit that he cannot, leaving himself vulnerable to further scrutiny by both teachers, aids, administrators, and HIMSELF! Yes, no one will make her feel worse than she herself!

Advocacy demands an understanding of himself as well as support to allow for strategies in areas of weakness. In addition to all of this is the parent who is in this vicious cycle of promoting dependence in order to “fix” and enable some success. The parent child relationship cannot survive this. He feels that parent as not approving. He sees that the parent feels the need to “run the show”. All of this only damages the parent-child relationship while the child’s self-esteem plummets. Oh, and by the way, the teacher cannot decide if and when the support in a 504 will be dispersed. It is there for specific ADHD accommodations in the classroom to help the areas of impairment that is causing the child’s lack of success.

Needed school support in the form of either a 504 or IEP will allow the child to move forward, understand himself, develop strategies, and become successful and independent. In addition, he becomes more open to a strong coaching relationship where he can be the client who achieves his goals. All of this leading to a soaring self-esteem and a positive parent child relationship!

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