Five Year Old with ADHD/ODD who is developing low self-esteem?

Brandi - posted on 12/08/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

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This is not something that I am shocked by, since I have heard that self-esteem issues can go hand-in-hand with ADHD and similar disabilities, but lately my little girl has made some comments that concern me and I really could use some advise. Lately, whenever we see a photo of her and I will say, "Wow, what a pretty kid!" She will argue that she is not pretty. And for a while I passed it off as her just being very argumentative with the ODD and stuff, but I am very concerned about her self-confidence. Also the other night we were at church and I overheard her talking to one of the little boys that she is pals with. She said, "Whoever likes me, raise your hand," and the little boy raised his hand. Right about the time I was thinking how cute that was, she said, "Ok, whoever doesn't like me, raise your hand." And SHE RAISED HER HAND.

How can a five year old not like herself? I am just at a loss as to what to do, I am not sure how to build up my little girl to restore her confidence, and I desperately want to avoid letting this get any worse ... Anyone going through this too?

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Brandi - posted on 12/15/2009

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Lisa - I would totally be afraid too. It is so heartbreaking to know that our kids are going through such tough struggles and we can hardly do anything to fix it. And the worst is that we can't just gloss over it ... because they know that they are different. But you are right to show her that we are receive different gifts from God, and that we are special to Him is different ways. Pointing out the differences between her and other kids in a positive light is a strong way of helping her to see that she is not so much "different" as she is "special" and "unique". We put so much status in words these days, and it is so sad for them to get caught up in that, isn't it? Check out this site for an amazing list of positive ways to view these "differences" ... it will give your whole family a new way to appreciate ADHD and what it can mean in your family. http://addadhd.suite101.com/article.cfm/...

Nicole - I love the ideas you posted! And the soap thing is so discounted these days ... it sure worked when I was a kid, LOL!

Nicole - posted on 12/14/2009

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Lisa,
We seemed to have more issues with concerta then we have had with ritalin. The ritalin seems to have less of an emotional side effect than the Concerta did. I know how hard it is some mornings to remember to have the encouragement but it does help when you do remember.

I know how hard it is and how worrisome it is when they feel so depressed and it is hard. I agree that professional help is the best if you are able to do it. The most worrisome item is the pills to combat the pills combining to have worse side affects.

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Thank you Nicole, that is true, when she is being her naughtiest, sometimes I think she is really just crying out for help and if we can keep calm and hug her she usually stops being mad and starts to cry. As for the verbal reminders of how much I love her and what a wonderful girl she is, I admit I forget some days when I'm at my wits end with her, but I will make an effort to say it every day and see if I can love her more. She knows I get mad at her and she'll cry and say she's sorry, that it was "my baby brain" in control and she can't help it.

We do still use time outs which she hates so they're pretty effective or taking away her favorite toys, etc....my husband's mom used to make him swallow Tabasco but I don't think I want to go there...But I am exhausted from all the yelling....

What scares me the most is, you always hear these warnings about how some meds "can cause suicidal thoughts" but I thought it was just the drug companies trying to cover their butts. But maybe I should get her some professional help. She's said it more than once this past month, but my mother just died about 6 weeks ago after a long illness which really affected Sierra, but I was hoping she could get past it by now. Maybe the drugs are making her worse is my worry. I know I have ADHD and can't tolerate the stimulants, they made me very angry so I stick with antideps for me...maybe we'll have to think about switching her pills too. I know pills can't cure everything but I was depressed my entire life until I finally admitted I needed help.

Thanks for your help! ;-)

Nicole - posted on 12/14/2009

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Ezzy didn't go to the I want to hurt myself but had a lot of the anger and sad at that age. Your daughter sounds A LOT like mine at that age down to the Disney Channel and the attitude. LOL It does get better.

Ok so here is some of the things we have done. 1. Everyday I give her a kiss and smile and say "I love you you wonderful girl you. Have a GREAT day at school" (depending on her attitude that morning sometimes that is a struggle for mom, but I do it :) 2. We asked her to let us know when ever she was feeling down and then asked her if she wanted a hug then. Usually she did and we used that to just show acceptance of it and love. I kinda understand some of it since I struggle with depression also so sometimes I could tell and I wouldn't say anything, just give her the hug and hold her for a bit. She started just randomly coming up and saying to me that "Mommy I need a hug" luckly it either worked or she grew out of it mostly because we don't get that nearly as much any more. 3) We use discipline that a lot of people won't agree with, but it worked for me and it has really worked for my daughter. Spankings don't really work with her, but if she gets sassy and has an attitude she gets her mouth washed out with a little soap. I tell her if she is going to use dirty/sassy language I have to clean it up somehow, or she does...her choice. That worked wonderfully. All I have to do now is look at her and say attitude=soap and wow it seems to disappear fast. It only took about 2 weeks to solve that problem. We let her watch Disney and such but usually we are around and then we will use it to have discussions on attitude, intelligence, right and wrong. ect. It has actually worked to our advantage.

Just some ideas of how we have helped our daughter through this rough time. Hope some of these ideas help Lisa.

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I am struggling with this right now too - my daughter (7) says things like "I'm the dumbest kid in school" and "I just to hurt myself." Where does a 7 yr old learn such things?

She got a bad report card the first quarter so she is no longer allowed to watch TV - even though it was just the Disney channel, after 5pm those shows get pretty grown up and she was learning snotty things like "whatever" or "that was easy" when she got her way with something. I just didn't like the direction she was headed.

Her meds were Vyvanse (age 6) which made her violent and sad so we switched to Concerta after trying Daytrana (Patch) which did nothing for her. The Concerta didn't work at first until we upped the dose. Some days she'll come up happy saying "I was on fire today!" if she did well in school.

But she knows she is different and I try to explain to her that God gives everyone special gifts, but not everyone gets the same gifts. She is struggling with school while her baby brother (age 5) loves math already. But he is painfully shy and she is the life of the party -so I point that out to her how blessed she is with a bubbly personality, and what a great reader she is.

But this "I want to hurt myself" business worries me.

Nicole - posted on 12/12/2009

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Actually I notice my daughters depression is worse when she is not on her meds because she is getting reprimand more. I honestly have gone back to the basic ritalin because we seem to have less side effects and we are able to control the doses better. I noticed it more when she was on Concerta but then I didn't have nearly the control on how the meds dispersed in her body.

Brandi - posted on 12/12/2009

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Meg, thanks so much for being so supportive, and you are totally right on how heart-wrenching this can be. It is so hard to see them suffer, especially when they sometimes have such a hard time simply being accepted because they are seen as "bad" or "naughty" or "different". But none of this is their fault, nor did they ask for it, you know? It's not fair, and I hate that I can't just fix it. You had great ideas for the journalling thing, and I am looking forward to trying them out with Jo to see what works best for her. In the meantime I will keep your in my prayers with your recovery. I know that alcoholism is very hard to come back from, and just know that it you ever need to talk or whatever, feel free to message me.

Nicole, thanks for being willing to share your CD collection with us!! I will definitely message you with my address! Thanks, and good luck with your daughter, also!

Andrea, we are going to get her into counseling as soon as we can, and I wish you luck with your son as well.

Andrea - posted on 12/12/2009

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well my son has adhd and was the same way about him self. we tryed all sorts of meds, and yes some made him really violent and what not, but all i could do is constantly tell him how handsome he was and how smart he was. and how much i loved him, and alot of hugs and kisses. and i have noticed that the meds make him this way but when he is not the meds then he does not think like that . but i agree with the others maybe to get her in to see some one. good luck

Nicole - posted on 12/12/2009

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I totally agree. I use LiveJournal and they have a privacy setting that allows it for only you to see so that it wouldn't be posted visible to anyone but the person who logs in. If you want to sit with her and sometimes just let her type and such it may also help her learn typing, spelling, and writing. Even if it makes no sense to anyone else it still may to her. I also love the idea of a picture journal. I know that drawing was something that the therapist used with my daughter and would have her tell stories about the drawings.

I know it isn't for everyone, but I also started a Mary Kay business about 2 years ago and I know that I have seen SUCH a difference in my daughter since I started my business. She loves to listen to my motivational CD's with and without me and I think some of these have also helped her grow. If you would like to e-mail me I can send you copies of some of the CD's that my daughter loves to listen to that I think have really helped her grow also. My e-mail is NjRonda@MaryKay.com. I don't know if it would be of interest to you or your daughter I would love to send some to you so it could possibly help.

Meg - posted on 12/12/2009

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That sounds like a good idea! I know that journaling/blogging has been very helpful to me in sorting things out( as a recovering alcoholic). It helps me to see what is fact and what is just junk. You must be very careful about the privacy setting so you don't end up with creepy people reading it. I think your daughter is at the age where they are making scribles for words and such, maybe the two of you can make a journal out f pretty paper and she can "write" and draw in it and then "read" it to you about what is upsetting her. It could help you to understand better what she is thinking. Or just let her type away and then have her tell you what she wrote. There are lots of free places on line where she can draw and most computers come wth it already installed, you may have to look thru your programs to find it.



I know this is breaking your heart because I am going thru the same thing with my son who just turned 13 and have been for awhile now. I pray something helps you. I am very happy you are not just passing this off as a phase that will just go away.



Meg

Brandi - posted on 12/12/2009

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We are working hard on positive reinforcement these days, and trying so hard to play down our "bad" behaviors, while still trying to stop those behaviors. It's just been a challenge to find the right mix. She seems to be doing a little better with it, but we are still planning to get some therapy going as soon as we can. I didn't know Jamie Lee Curtis wrote books, I'll do some research, and I definitely love the idea of the About Me thing ... maybe we can put it up in her room after as a reminder ... I am a blogger and she thinks that blogging is fascinating because I have one. What do you moms think of that ind of thing? She can't type it herself yet so I don't know how honest she will be with it, but I am thinking that practicing with me typing out her thoughts for her might get her starting in a good journaling habit. Something she can use as a release for her feelings later on?

Nicole - posted on 12/11/2009

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That is another great point Gina. We also did the positive reenforcement. It seemed to work well but it took a lot longer than a week. We are still working on that :) Glad it is working well for you Gina.

Gina - posted on 12/11/2009

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My Son is 4 1/2 and acts very simmilar. Althought he is given tons of positive reinforcement, he continues to be hard on himself. It makes me sad.

I've started to give him some easier tasks and then praise him like it was a huge deal that he was able to do it. Each day I increase the skill level needed to comeplete the task, but act just as excited. By the end of the week he was back on target with his level and I continue to praise him for his accomplishments.

Reading the Jamie Lee Curtis books have been helpful also. There are lots of other books you can find that you can read with your child. Maybe do an 'All about Me' project with her. There you can list things she does that are special, unique and important to her.

Maybe joining Girl Scouts would be helpful as well. Sometimes hearing that he is special from others (not just Mom) will help her realize that again. She should be old enough to join the Daisys, it's about an hour a week , it doesn't cost much and everyone will be there to support her.
Good Luck!

Nicole - posted on 12/11/2009

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I know how you feel Brandi. I had the same issue with my daughter Ezzy. She is now 9 and doing quite well! One of the things we did was notice when she looked down and talked to her, as you are doing, but also asked if a hug would help. That often did the trick. I just asked her if she remembered when she was younger and how she didn't like herself and she said no. LOL So I guess I can't ask her what would help :) Just hugs and love go a long way. And talk to her like she is an adult in that case and hopefully that will help you and her.

Brandi - posted on 12/11/2009

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Thanks for the advice Beth. I'm definitely going to be checking into it once I get a new car, LOL. Our just blew the head gasket last week so we are hunting for another one. Once that is straightened out, I'm going to get her into some counseling. I just don't know what else to do ... I'd much rather think that I'd know what to say to her, but I just can't seem to get the right words.

Beth - posted on 12/10/2009

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My son is now 8 year old and also went through this! He is also ADHD/ODD but also has OCD and Tourette's! I have one word for you...THERAPIST!! We take our son to a therapist/counselor now and it has made a world of difference. Children, regardless of age, know that they are different. They really do want to be like everyone else but it's very hard for them sometimes. Since in therapy our son talks about how many friends he has and that he has 'girlfriends'...lol. I've seen children like your daughter not get the help that they needed and it does not make for a very pleasant life later on. There are so fany things that could happen...so please consider therapy. It really is a great tool and nothing to be ashamed of!!!

Brandi - posted on 12/10/2009

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Thanks, I am praying with all my heart that we can find some answers for my daughter. This has been very hard on her as all of it has come pretty suddenly in our home ...

Meg - posted on 12/10/2009

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Have you tried asking her why she doesn't like herself? Of course you have. It is very hard when you have a child with no self-esteem. She definatly needs to find someone she can talk to . Play therapy has done us a world of good. If it is bullying I know of a great couple of ladies that help parents and girls deal with it. They go by age to best help each girl, I know they have 3 age group levels. www.AWayThrough.com. CustomerSupport@awaythrough.com

I pray you find the help you need soon!
Meg

Beckie - posted on 12/09/2009

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Brandi, My daughter Kailey is so excited the barely faint whisps of hormons are starting because now she feels a part of things. She has major problems with some bullying because she acts different and needs things to play with in her desk so she can concentrate. ADHD meds help with the attention part you just need to keep a close eye on the rections because some are extreme anger and violence. The big thing too is to keep the teachers informed so they can watch for bullying and anything else that may be causing her to look down on herself; Have her talk to someone,, finding someone to understand what these children go through is a major issue for us all. Seems like its easy for them to say that kid has bad parents and let him get away with everything or dont decipline them right,or that its the child they are just bad kids. I guess we both will be stuck doing research.

Beckie

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