Have you ever heard your kids say:
I am so stupid.
I can’t do anything right.
I am horrible at ___.
Negative self-talk is something that many parents hear from their child at one point. Some kids can say some really awful things about themselves. But where does this talk come from? When you are a parent, it’s hard to hear your kids talk so negatively about themselves. You may want to shout, “Stop saying that! Don’t feel that!” It’s important to understand why this is happening.
Negative Self-Talk is Damaging
Some kids experience a lot of negativity. Whether they are being bullied, witnessing bullying, see dysfunction in the community or family, or are just surrounded by unhappy peers, negativity is around them. Even if you don’t talk to your children in that way, they may pick it up from others and it can be damaging to their self-esteem.
How to Teach Kids Positive Self-Talk
It’s important for us to model positive self-talk, especially in front of our kids. As adults we may use self-deprecating humor, keep in mind that you’re modeling behavior to your kids that it is OK to talk about yourself in a negative way. Also, model what you want them to hear. If you say, “I’m so stupid”, your kids will think that it’s OK to use that language about themselves.
Teach kids that how we think is how we feel. If we think positively about a situation and ourselves, that will reflect on our life, our choices and our futures.
When kids get negative, teach them how to spin the conversation to positive. If they say:
I don’t know anyone. I’m going to have a horrible first day at school.
Try rephrasing it as:
I’m worried about my day. I hope it goes well.
Point out to your child that our patterns are influenced by what we say, so a little optimism can help.
Tips for Stopping the Negative Self-Talk
Watch this quick video where I give tips on how to talk to your kids about their negative self-talk.
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