007: 10 Easy Strategies to Build Self-Esteem in Kids with ADHD, with Jackie Flynn

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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It's no secret that kids with ADHD (and autism) struggle immensely with self-esteem. They're bumping around in a world receiving constant messages that they're different, broken, incapable…

As parents of kids with ADHD, a big part of our job is to boost our kids' confidence and self-esteem. In this episode, I talk with therapist Jackie Flynn about simple ways to build our children's self-esteem. These 10 strategies are simple to implement in our chaotic lives, yet powerfully effective.


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Be the thermostat, not the thermometer – respond rather than react.

Focus on the donut, not the hole.

10 Strategies to Build Self-Esteem in Kids with ADHD:

  1. Looking in your child’s eyes — says “I matter”
  2. Be a good model and label emotions
  3. Have a good fun to work ratio
  4. Spend present time with your child each day
  5. Unconditional acceptance (every when it’s hard)
  6. The 20-second hug
  7. Give your child permission to be human
  8. Set the stage for healthy attachment
  9. Recognize accomplishments, even the small stuff (not praise)
  10. Smile at first sight (Jackie’s favorite)

Trauma creates hyper-vigilance: EMDR therapy, mindfulness, and play therapy are very effective for trauma.

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My Guest

Jackie Flynn

Jackie Flynn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Education Specialist, Registered Play Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, and a Certified School Counselor. Jackie helps children and their families at her thriving Play Therapy and Expressive Arts private practice in Central Florida. She also helps parents persevere through the challenges of parenthood through her podcast, Parenting in the Rain: Insights from the Experts and her online business at Jackie Flynn Consulting, where she offers Parent Coaching, Consulting Services, and Online Training.


Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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A chair that gives kids a sensory hug.

About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

Share your thoughts.

  • Thank you Penny for your pod casts. I am a single dad and my wonderful son is 11/grade 6 and has ADD (It doesn’t present as hyperactivity but inattention). I am only on episode 7 but listen and learn every morning. I am in the process now of working through the process of having his 2nd Ed. Psych. Assessment (and the 1st one since being on medication) and subsequent accommodations and learning plan. It has been an excercise for me in balancing patience and advocating for my son with his school. It takes so long to get things done and wish I knew more earlier. I have a sense of urgency that sometimes isn’t reciprocated by the school staff.

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