The Parent’s Guide to Helping Kids With ADHD Have Positive Self-Esteem


Parenting tips for ADHD

Helping children feel good about themselves is a big part of a parent’s job, and while this task can be difficult, it becomes even more challenging with a child who has ADHD. A positive self image and healthy self-esteem come from feeling unconditional love, from appreciating who you are, and from feeling successful. Unfortunately, children with low self-esteem are prone to depression and antisocial behavior, often get bullied at school, will lack self-confidence, and won’t be able to take responsibility for themselves or their actions.

On the other hand, children with high self-esteem and a positive self image will flourish: they’ll be independent, responsible, courageous, helpful, and able to handle challenging situations. Building self-esteem in a child with ADHD is all about promoting success, remaining positive, and offering unconditional love and praise. When seeking Littleton ADHD counseling, Dr. Steven Lazarus, a child psychologist, will give you customized tools to help.

Encourage Success Academically, Personally, and Socially

If feeling successful is necessary for building self-esteem, then it’s up to parents to set their children up for success. There are many ways that a parent can help promote success and a sense of accomplishment in all aspects of their children’s lives, including:

  • Get them involved in activities they enjoy
  • Have them in the best school setting to meet their needs
  • Build on their strengths by giving them the opportunity to practice things they’re good at
  • Help and encourage them to foster friendships with caring and understanding children
  • Get them involved in social situations and activities where they can meet new people
  • Be reasonable with your expectations of them
  • Set practical goals they can achieve
  • Give them chores that promote a feeling of responsibility and pride
  • Help them learn to break down a whole into more manageable parts (such as the many small steps involved in a school project)


Focus on the Positives

Children with ADHD are even more prone to letting mistakes and failures set the tone for how they feel about themselves, which is why parents need to refocus their attention on the positives. When the children do something wrong, constructive criticism should emphasize the good while also pointing out where there’s room for improvement. It’s also important to reassure children that everyone makes mistakes and that mistakes are opportunities for learning. Parents must exercise great patience, and not respond to errors with an immediate negative reaction. They must think about why their child keeps making mistakes and try to work with their child and teachers to help them have success. Along with offering positive reinforcement, parents can also encourage their children to see the positives by having them keep a journal so they chronicle daily activities that made them proud of themselves.

Praise, Appreciate, and Celebrate

Along the same lines as focusing on the positives, parents of children with ADHD must also be quick to praise their children, appreciate their efforts, and celebrate their successes. This means providing encouragement, complimenting them for jobs well done and for good efforts, thanking them when they help out and showing them that you trust them by allowing them to make small decisions on their own.


Helping a child build self-esteem and a positive self image can be a difficult task as a parent, especially when the child has ADHD and tends to focus on successes and failures only from the immediate past. In Dr. Steven Lazarus in Littleton can offer ADHD counseling to help you and your child to focus on the positives and help you set goals that will encourage success. If your child hasn’t been diagnosed with ADHD but you’re concerned about some symptoms, call today to request a free phone consultation and see if an ADHD assessment is appropriate.