Help your child identify strengths and weaknesses and learn how to describe them clearly and confidently. Talking about strengths and weaknesses with you can make it easier for him to understand and talk to teachers and other adults about what kind of help he needs.
Whenever possible, show him how his strengths have helped him overcome a specific challenge. Make the connection between his strengths and his successes. Encourage him to take pride in both.
What you can say
“Jacob, I’m really proud of everything you’ve accomplished, especially considering the challenges you face. Many people have challenges. But not everyone is willing to work as hard as you do to overcome them. Your work ethic is one of the things I admire the most about you.”
“Let’s make a list of things you do well and of the areas that are still difficult. This way, when you ask your teacher for help, you’ll have a better sense of exactly what you need and where you feel you have strengths.”
“How about we start the list by mentioning the new method you developed to organize your writing assignments? That is a big change and has worked well for you. I hope you’re as proud of yourself as I am. I’m really impressed by how you figured out how to organize your essays.”
Why this will help
Kids with learning and attention issues often have trouble identifying and talking about what they do well and where they need help. The more self-aware your child is, the more confident he’ll be about speaking up and requesting whatever he needs to be successful.
As your child gets older, his self-advocacy skills will become more and more important. You can help him develop these by highlighting his strengths. When you have confidence and pride in your child, you can convey this to him and he can convey it to others.
Seeing himself in a positive light will help your child look forward to success rather than anticipate failure.