ADD/ADHD & Executive Functioning Coaching Moment…The Arrogant Child

Arrogance is one of the biggest signs of a self-esteem issue with a client. The cockier a client acts, the more self-esteem concerns usually arise. This is often the case with many of my male clients, but also can be exhibited by girls as well. Welcome to the world of Nick. Remember…names and some details are changed by the story stays the same.

I’ve been working with Nick for around six months. Nick came to me with all the answers and thought he knew better than everyone else. However, his academic and social performance wasn’t up to par. He’s a high school sophomore that despite his intelligence (IQ score well in the superior range), he doesn’t perform well with his studies or have very many strong peer relationships. Or as he said at the time, “I don’t need any friends. I am too good for most of them anyway”.

When I work with a client that has this level of arrogance as well as self-esteem concerns, a fine line has to be walked. I do not want to put he or she down, but I do not want to let he or she off the hook either. With Nick, I decided to make a flow-chart of how his behavior and attitude affects himself and others around him on a regular basis. For example, he constant battles with his parents over every detail makes him a not very likable kid. When he selectively completes homework, it impacts his grade. When he tells a peer that he or she is stupid, it makes him come across as a jerk. All of these things lead him down a path of destruction.

Here’s an inside look at my approach. I really do not let anyone off the hook for things. While I am empathetic of many things, the world isn’t a very forgiving place. The streets are paved with intelligent people that do not live up to his or her’s ability level (I do not say potential…because everyone has potential). Coddling and feeling sorry for a person doesn’t do that person any good. As you’ve read in my life story (see Part 1 and Part 2), things haven’t always been sunshine and lollipops. However, my desire way outweighed my challenges. That is why I do not EVER let clients off the hook for not putting forward an effort.

Nick’s parents are great. They want to help their son and really do not tolerate the kind of person he’s becoming. He has resisted help, but they’ve held a firm line. In my time with Nick, improvements are being made. He is relating better to peers and can recognize when his behavior gets in the way of him being liked by others. The more Nick sees these things, the better off he will be. My advice to any parent dealing with an arrogant child is to not tolerate this type of behavior and call he or she out when appropriate. Fearing this behavior only feeds the beast.

Please follow me on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach and Facebook. For more information on my work, check out and Feel free to email me at if you have any additional questions.

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