I am killing my child's self esteem - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

CHADD's ADHD Parents Together

12,389 members4,051 posts

I am killing my child's self esteem


I cried to the Doctor today. We were at an ADHD follow up and my daughter was bouncing all over the room. This doctor makes her incredibly anxious and she hates how we talk about her. Her ADHD is worse at the doctors and when two adults are talking and she just has to stand there. The Doctor told her to sit down-- either pick a chair or the bench to sit on while we talk. The doctor is pretty stern and my daughter went to climb up on the bench and hit her knee and began crying that she wanted to go home and didn't want to us to keep talking about her. She cried in my arms the rest of the appointment. I also started to cry because she was hurting emotionally.

I think the doctor's appointments and medication trial and errors are killing her self esteem because we haven't found the right medication that doesn't cause terrible side effects that majorly affect her life.

I am picking apart her personality and behaviors constantly and as much as we try to hide, she is starting to become aware as she gets older that she doesn't have the same temperament as other kids.

24 Replies

You are not alone. I too experienced this guilt feeling when my son started medication and was on so many trials. He has difficulty sitting still and keeping quiet during the time we are with the doctor. The doctor frequently has to stop to re-direct him, quite him or give him stern directives. Honestly after 3 years, I do not believe we have found the right medication. Ask the doctor to move your daughter to a play area while you talk in private. It really is not necessary to have the child in the room while discussion is going on. She can join the appointment after all the discussion.

I don’t have a child but I remember a lot as a child and I was very sensitive and I didn’t know how to communicate what I was feeling let alone understand what I was feeling. One thing that gave me comfort and as far as behavior me and my siblings just knew idk how but we knew how to behave in public in fact at home I know the rules as a young child and I didn’t brake them. Maybe it was the fear we had of our dad. He never hurt us but for some reason my mom she only said this a few times in my life don’t make me tell dad and that straighten me out.

What I was going To say was growing up, we had very solid routines. Mom and Dad woke at 6 Mom had her morning routine Dad did too. 6days a week Dad left for work at 7:30 and came home at 7. Dinner time was at 7:30. Sunday my dad worked on cars with the my brothers in the garage and Sunday Mom and I went to the movies or we went shopping and got lunch. The house was always clean and I wasn’t aloud to make any messes anywhere except my room. And when I stopped brushing my hair because I wanted curly my didn’t know why I stopped brushing my hair, I forgot to tell her. She said if you don’t brush your hair we’re going to get it cut.

I may be way in left field here and this information is of no use to you. I’m sorry if I couldn’t be of help. I want to help. I think properly diagnosing a young child is difficult because the child can’t communicate well enough and a lot of symptoms can mimic others. I believe most parents are doing there very best and not speaking about you but I bet counseling the parents on how to be better parents can help.

One more thing. Pick and choose your battles. I was hell of a pain in a but. I was very defiant growing up and my parents had to trust I said I was going and doing what I was doing even though I was out doing drugs. But I did have a good up bringing and was instilled good morals, the drug faze didn’t last long, and I had a strong work ethic and I knew that if I wanted a place of my own I had to do it on my own. There I go rambling. Thank you for listening. FYI: there is a chadd meeting once a month that meets for parents with children with ADHD. And on psychology today you can search for a psychiatrist that specializes in ADHD in your area. If you find one that doesn’t take you insurance but you can pay for a couple sessions I would. I would also keep trying until you find someone who is helping you. Also kids don’t want to be not normal. Depending on her age I would limit discussions with her about her problems. It’s got to really hurt at any age being looked at as someone with problems

kondasa in reply to Lovinit

I honestly can’t follow

Kondasa- if I were in to our shoes I would find a new doctor. Are you seeing a child psychiatric? I would not allow anyone to hit my child's knee, even if he wanted her to sit down. If you are seeing the right specialist they would respond to her differently.

No— My daughter accidently hit her own knee.

Sorry, I can't tell from your message if you think the doctor is wrong for the doctor. If my child was stressed out that by a specific doctor I would change doctors. If you are siding with your child that is a different story.

My son has had one major melt down during an appointment with the psychologist. Most of the time he stays quiet and plays but he is listening to everything being said. Then he ends up showing his anger as soon as we walk out of the office. The Hulk gets unleashed! I’m trying my best to keep reinforcing with him that his medications and vitamins are to try to help him focus. During appointments I try to include good things as well as the rough patches. I try to ask him questions so he feels like he has a say about how he was feeling during the month. I’m hoping it will help him be able to name and recognize his feelings. Good luck to you and you are not alone!

Hi Kondasa, my son was recently diagnosed with ADHD. We go through the same thing. He has always been sentive about being “talked about” and we constantly have to reassure him that it isn’t always a negative thing to hear your name come up in conversation. He too gets extremely anxious and hyper when I’m trying to talk with anyone. I try my best to praise him over the top when he does a good job at not being disruptive or for not interrupting while I’m in conversation. For dr appointments, I always explain to him that I need to give the dr my full attention and visa versa in order to help him. I do little reminders on the drive over and another one before we go through door. Thankfully our dr will send him out to the play area if he’s not allowing us to talk. But he also always tries to engage with my son and allows him to ask any questions he may have. We involve him so that he feels fully comfortable taking his medication. I remember seeing a different dr and being completely frustrated and embarrassed because my son could not sit still, was constantly interrupting and pestering me for my phone. I kept apologizing to the dr, and he finally stopped me and told me he was used to it. It’s what they have to deal with on a daily. In regards to you feeling like your picking her apart, I felt the same way. Sometimes I still catch myself doing it. Our dr recommended picking one behavior at a time to correct. It’s better for them and less overwhelming for both. The explosive child is a great read. Highly recommend it for a start because it will help you categorize behaviors and help you understand that your child wants to be good but just needs the help getting there. Our child psychologist recommended it. Hope this helps!

I feel your pain. Im going thru the same thing

HI, I can relate to your post. I would write more but I am in a hurry this morning. Put down the stick you are using to beat yourself. Like her, you deserve to feel support! Genetic testing can help to identify ADHD meds that are more effective based on how your child's body metabolizes the medication. It helped us a great deal! Here is an article I hope you find helpful:


I wish you the best!

This is so hard.♥️ I have so much to say...... can you look at supplements, more physical activites, along with focused play (legos, drawing, puzzles) ... can you just sit with her and and tell her how wonderful and clever she is.. hug more. Listen more, etc.... I started to stop trying to control my son, and just enjoy him more and it settled his anxiety, raised his self esteem and has made huge positive changes in his behavior. I try to keep structure in his routine and keep his diet more protein based with no sugar. We work on writing and reading and math in 10min increments.... I am doing adhd naturally with him and changing the way I parent to help give him tools. He is six.

Thinking of you... I hate that doctor 😫.

My son is horrible when he feels criticized and ‘bad’ all the time & flowers when he is complemented and nurtured. I also let him be as creative as he wants (when it used to annoy me to watch all the madness) ...It’s been a battle.... but he is encouraged to be calm and honest and he chills more and plays better with kids. I let him go nuts outside and on the trampoline & then we have 30 minutes pockets of focused activities. I even call him to me to calmly tell him, “I’m happy you are having fun and I want you to be aware of your body and the people around you. Be careful not to hurt anyone”......just sharing what has been working for us xo

EpochMamma4 in reply to Nla1

Beautiful description of how you are evolving together in this struggle. I parent the same way but need constant reminders as my patience wanes and my efforts contract. Thank you for the reminder!

Hum. Wondering how old your daughter is. You can ask that she sit in another room while you and the doctor discuss things. There is a point to bring them into discussion... The older they are the more they should be participating in thier treatment. Mine is 12, and provides feedback on meds directly as well as how she is feeling. We talk about ADHD has a 'thing' she has and that we have to treat. She says she's embarrassed by it, but deals with it ok. Good luck.

I suggest finding a new doctor. Don’t assume they’re all trained or have the personality to handle children with special needs

Hidden in reply to Mmagusin

I agree. I wouldn't like people talking negatively about me as I have to quietly sit there and listen. It's so insensitive. Find another Dr. They are not all like that.

They should have more understanding and know howto deal with the situation (calm, expect the kids to behave like they have adhd cos they do !).

Maybe throw it back to them and ask them if they really expect the child to sit silently. I would prefer to involve the child in the conversations (even if we have to bring the level of discussion downto their level) so they feel involved. Obviously part of the discussion would be directly towards the parents but if they involve the kid it may help.

I would be shocked if that happened to me and my child and would advocate for him and even suggest to the dr thay he may need training in dealing with adhd kids as the current method is not effective and really stresses out the kid.

Really feel for you and even more for your child. As parents we have a duty to always put our kids first and to stop others treating them poorly (even though they can be terrors at times)

I understand if you dont agree with me but thought i would put my views accross. Dr is to blame not you or the kid.

Does your doctor have an online portal? I communicate quite a bit with our doctor through that, so we don’t have to say as much in front of my son at his age.

When he have discussed things in front of him, I also let him know what / why. Like “you know how you tell me you get distracted at school? Well, we’re just figuring out the best way to help you with that.” And I offer to explain more later if he has other questions (which he always does.)

I would look for a different doctor.

I'm sorry for your stress. My 2 cents: I would stop trying to hid any of the details of her ADHD. Hiding it makes it feel like its a defect- something to be ashamed of. Talk to her about it in terms she can understand, name it for what it is, and ask her to help you in working with it. Once she's a more active participant in her own care, it wont feel so embarrassing.

And this doc sounds like he or she may not be the right fit. Docs that specialize in ADHD know that kids in an exam room are going to bounce off the walls, or we wouldn't need their help.

Since I am an adult with ADHD I am the same issues with my now elderly mom. I love my mom, but despite not having ADHD herself she has always had her own self esteem issues. She says whatever is on her mind no matter how it is received. At times, she says very undercutting and hurtful things to me.

I get very offended, but realize that is the way she is. And as people get elderly they get more set in being who they are, and I realize that it is what it is.

I also have spent my life feeling like a Martian on Earth. I tend to have a really, really hard time showing empathy and understanding for others, because I feel no one has gone exactly through what I have. I am very sensitive and do not talk much about my condition, because they slightly misread me and I get frustrated and indignant.

And it is knowing that no one can know me completely except myself that keeps me in a better place where I am not so easily on the defensive. I suppose it is true of all people. Oftentimes, I hear parents thinking they 100% get their kids and their kids saying how annoyed they get with their parents.

Hi- best advice I can give is find a friendly doctor. We have learned this through trial and error.. stern doctors exacerbate my sons behaviors and he fights going to them. However the ones with a gentler style ( not permissive ones) an older male doc he loves and a young female doc he loves and as different as they are they are steady and calming. He actually can’t wait to see either of the two of them...I always bring my boy with me to any of my doctor appointments and he likes to speak with doctors In general

I am new here and moved by your story. I can understand your circumstances. My son was just diagnosed at 10 because I am going through a divorce and can finally move forward in seeking answers. I knew something was off since age 2 and its been a long haul. However, due to my own need and several friends whom I trust and do life with I was introduced to Homeopathy. I needed it due to fatigue, I homeschool and my marriage has been unsupported and rough - there was more weight upon me than I could comprehend This modality of healing spoke to me for a number of reasons and I wasn't adverse to something "alternative". I also had the pleasure to watch my friends and their kids improve using this modality in miraculous ways. I wanted to investigate for myself. I found a practicioner, in another state and got immediate results. After 7 months of constant improvement and increase connection with my Homeopathist (combo health practitioner, therapist, encourager) I placed my un-diagnosed son in her hands for evaluation of a Remedy. It worked - he too had immediate results, which was a blessing. Immediate results are uncommon but can happen, I and my son are proof. I treat all our ailments with this modality and there is a lot of information available to research. It has been effective with children with ADHD and subsequent needs. Many don't know about this option, so just putting it out there for consideration.

Try looking for the positive parts of her ADHD and complimenting her for them.

I always try to relate to my child's behavior. Examples below. Some of the things he does at school reminds me so much of what I would do so it kinda easy to to relate and then explain things with grown up eyes. I think it helps him understand that while the behaviors are not appropriate they are not abnormal either and we all, including grown ups, have to work hard to keep in control. We also play mindful games together like rolling a ball back and forth while saying something that bothers us and then following with "life is good". I modify this one to go through our days I talk about how we felt at each part. I guess he is always part of the conversation were I sympathize and empathize where he is coming from while also explaining, reinforcing, and modeling the appropriate behavior.


When he has trouble getting along with people then I tell him how there are people I have trouble getting along with and remind him why we have to try to get along. When he has issues reading out loud in class (which result in screaming and being defiant) then I talk to him about how much I hated reading out loud and why and we discuss why he has trouble.

When he has had issues with hitting I explain there are people whom I have wanted to hit too but I do something else instead like take a short walk.

If he doesn't like something another person is doing like singing a song then I talk about all the annoying thing my coworkers do and how we have to tolerate each others behaviors.

When he doesn't like to ask for help I explain that I did't wither because I was so embarrassed but learned that those who asked for the most help did the best.

When he is was doing his spelling assignment in an incorrect but funnier way, by writing his words one letter from each word then going back and writing then next letter of each word and so forth then I told him how I use to that too to make it more interesting but that I now understood the point of the assignment was to do it word by word to help learn it.

If it is something that i cannot relate to like hyperness I reinforce that I understand why he is behaving like that but explain the expectations in that social setting again.. it is okay to hang upside in a chair at home but not in the waiting room in public.

You may also like...