Because of poor academic performance and the feeling of being behind peers, children with learning disabilities tend to have low self-esteem and lack confidence. Chalking low self-esteem up to a childhood phase is damaging and can leave negative impressions on the child that can last into adulthood. Parents and educators need to be mindful of building up these children’s self-confidence and giving them positive feelings of self-worth.
Give your child a good foundation in problem-solving strategies and decision-making skills. Avoid judgmental comments or negative reactions that put the child down. Staying positive and speaking calmly makes a child less defensive.
Practice empathetic parenting. Yelling or making negative comments about your child’s behavior or academic performance only exacerbates the problem. Speak openly with your child concerning his learning disability. Most children have misconceptions about their problem and may think they’re just more stupid than their peers. Ensure them that this isn’t the case.
Before discipline is required, have your child contribute punishment ideas so he can claim ownership over his own behavior. You can do this by providing choices like asking if he needs to be reminded 10 minutes before having to dress for school. Since learning disabled children often have trouble focusing, reminders can help them stay on track, but in cases where a child can feel overwhelmed, limit choices.
Set realistic expectations both at home and at school. Setting goals beyond reach only leads to children feeling inadequate. Give them a chance to boost their self-esteem by drawing on their strengths and using those to help others. If an ADHD child who otherwise has disruptive behavior and problems focusing in class is actually a good helper, let him feel empowered by asking him to help another student with a cleaning chore or with carrying recreation equipment to and from the playground. Compliment these strengths. They may be the only compliments the child gets in a day.