We all have that streaming inner dialogue running through our minds. It is that voice that at times is encouraging and believes in you, and at other times is negative and critical, causing us to doubt ourselves. These automatic thoughts are called Self-Talk, and are as present for adults as they are for children.
As children develop physically and mentally, they are also faced with the task of finding their place in the world. “Do I belong?” “Am I capable?” “Who am I?” The answers to these questions are shaped by their experiences, role modeling, and can be supported through the powerful tool of positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk does not mean that you put on a happy face and ignore the unpleasant circumstances life sometimes offers. Rather, it is a tool in which one can approach those situations in a positive and productive way.
Positive self-talk can be instilled most effectively by you. Do you praise your child for being helpful, brave, or kind? Do you tell them often how important, special and loved they are? Instilling confidence and creating positive beliefs about themselves builds the self-esteem your child needs in order to thrive.
A great, tangible way to teach your child about positive self-talk is to have them write all their negative, critical thoughts or beliefs about themselves on post-its or small pieces of paper. Help them tape these notes onto a picture of themselves. Then help your child address each note by creating a positive counter to their original thought. Allow them to rip the note into pieces, then write a new note with the positive thought and tape it onto the picture. Continue until you have addressed each note.
If your child continues to have negative thoughts, it may helpful to seek counseling. Our therapists at Valencia Relationship Institute are trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) where we help child, teens and adults to think differently and stay positive. Please give us a call at 661-259-8200.