How Low Self-Esteem May Affect Your Child

As a parent of a child who has a learning disability and/or Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (AD(H)D), you know that these children can have very difficult experiences either at school, at home or in the community at large. 

Because we live in such a competitive world, your child may have a hard time performing to expected standards, which only contributes to giving him/her this feeling of being "inadequate", "stupid", "dumb", and the list goes on. Failing for your child is something that he/she experiences painfully every day and has come to expect and fear. 

The end result is that your child will isolate him or herself, avoiding anything that may require taking a risk, whether it be socially (making friends), academically (learning new math skills) or emotionally (learning to overcome fears).

Your child may protect him or herself by withdrawing, or using his/her fists and hurtful words so others won't know how badly he/she feels underneath this tough exterior. 

We often refer to this as the "better bad than dumb" syndrome. 

Although your child's protective mechanisms make sense in the short term. in the long term, these methods of dealing with things further jeopardize your child's sense of self, preventing him/her from taking the risks necessary to take in order to grow and discover that he/she too has strengths, talents and self worth.


The solution is quite obvious. 

Notwithstanding the learning or attention difficulties your child may have, he/she needs to be given the opportunities to perform and to challenge him or herself in a nurturing, protective and non-competitive environment. 

Your child can then begin to build his/her confidence, to trust in him or herself and gradually, trust others.


It is often very comforting for children with learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, incontinence or enuresis to be in an environment where they can see that they are not alone and where they and their issues are validated. 

Staff are nurturing and trained to identify strengths no matter how small and to help your child take the steps he or she needs to take in order to build on those strengths. 

The challenge ropes courses and climbing walls, our ecology and drama programmes are just a few of the many activities we use to work with our campers. 

The other very important factor here is that, much of what your child will learn and take from the Camp Kirk experience is transferable to other areas of his/her life. 

Knowing that he/she has been able to accomplish what was accomplished at camp, your child is more likely to face each new challenge with the "Yes I can" attitude and perform to the best of his/her ability which is all one can ask for.