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The Connection Between ADHD and Self-Esteem

Have you ever noticed that children diagnosed with ADHD often struggle with self-esteem or depression issues as well? This is likely related to children receiving continuous negative messages about themselves, especially when it comes to academics and school work. Children with ADHD are often told that they “would have potential if they weren’t so lazy” or that they “just need to apply themselves more”. Could you imagine having to hear these messages every day of your school life? If you’re an adult who has a history of ADHD, then you likely know how harmful this can be. 

As children develop into teens and adults, these negative messages are often internalized and the person integrates them into their sense of self. This means that a child with ADHD may grow into a teen or adult with negative beliefs about themselves including that they are actually lazy and are not capable of applying themselves, as this is what they have heard throughout their life. This negative view of self shows up as low self-esteem, difficulty feeling motivated, and not seeing oneself as having the potential to pursue a life you want. 

Is there a way that WE (including parents, educators, counselors, doctors, and other professional helpers) can help to prevent this negative belief system from happening? YES, WE CAN! We can be educated on the different types of ADHD, including hyperactive, inattentive, or combined. Many of the children who are stereotyped as lazy are often inattentive. These children do not have clear hyperactive symptoms and are usually not disruptive to the classroom. However, they are most likely not following along with the lectures which contribute to difficulties with completing classroom or homework assignments. They are often missing much of what is being said due to the way their brain works, not because they are lazy. 

If we adults can recognize these signs and incorporate appropriate support for children who are inattentive, this can help get them back on track at school and reduce the amount of negative messages they receive about themselves. Instead of viewing themselves as lazy, they can develop a sense of self-centeredness around feeling capable and learning how to be successful working with their brain, not against it! Can you imagine the long terms that can come from this approach towards children with ADHD? I hope that whoever is reading this will keep this in mind next time they see a child struggling with school or being called lazy. 

If you have a child who is struggling with schoolwork, tasks around the house, or being able to focus, contact us to see how we can help. We offer counseling and neurofeedback services, both of which have been demonstrated by research to help with ADHD symptoms.

For more information on how neurofeedback helps with ADHD, check out the link below!: 

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Author

Niina Kuukka

Niina Kuukka is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT 130671) who has over a decade of experience working with neuro-diverse challenges including children, teens, and adults with developmental delays, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder.

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