Ask the Experts

Q: My Son Keeps Calling Himself ‘Stupid’

“I feel stupid.” It’s heartbreaking to see self-esteem plummet in a child with ADHD who may not appreciate his strengths or value his differences, especially when your praise doesn’t seem to make a difference. Here, learn how parents can help replace the negativity with positivity.

Listen to “The Social Lives of Boys with ADHD”

Q: “My son’s friends from last year are not in his class this year. The boys in his current group all get along, but my son calls them the smart kids; he feels he is inadequate and calls himself ‘stupid.’ Though he has an IEP in place, he has no learning disabilities; my son’s issue is all about execution. When I pump him up with encouragement, he scoffs at it. How can I convince him, he’s just as capable as the other boys in his class?”

A: “Your son isn’t experiencing success for himself or he’s not realizing it himself, so when you give him praise and encouragement, it’s not going to work because it feels hollow to him… What’s more, kids with ADHD often have difficulty with episodic memory, meaning they have trouble recognizing their past successes and applying that information to the present or future. Here’s what you need to do…”


Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.

Submit your questions about ADHD in boys here!

Updated on December 2, 2019

Leave a Reply