Jayaram V. observes, “[Self-talk] is your inseparable twin with which you have to live the rest of your life.” (writing on Hinduwebsite.com) We cheer up the children in our life when we show them how to ensure that their inseparable twin is affirming and truthful.
1st way to cheer up a child: We are in this together
For one week, speak freely about your self-talk. Say out loud what you’re telling yourself in your head, especially if it’s negative (keeping it age appropriate, obviously). Invite them to tell you when you either are not taking responsibility for your own behavior by blaming someone else, OR assuming responsibility for something that is not your fault.
Simultaneously call your kids’ attention to times they are doing the same thing. There is huge relief for children in shared experience.
2nd way to cheer up a child: You have the power to reject your lies
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” (Dr. Seuss)
In other words, the child gets to choose not to believe the myths anymore. Rejecting their lies is a conscious choice they make. They are the boss of their thoughts. This is great news!
3rd way to cheer up a child: Replace the lies with affirmations
To reject certain statements as lies without replacing them with truth can send children into chaos: “If this is not true, what is?”
With pieces of their belief system missing, they don’t know who they are, what they’re supposed to do, or how things are supposed to work.
Ask questions that lead the child to reality: “Was it even your fault you weren’t at soccer practice? …. What was true?” Saying things out loud lets you listen to what you’re saying. Taking responsibility for failures comes easier when we’re open about it.
These affirmations can be adapted for your family’s values and beliefs.
- I am important to God. God gives me the power to make a difference.
- Some things are my fault and some are not. God helps me know the difference.
- With the help of God and the people who love me, I can get through anything.
- I can tell myself the truth. God can help me handle my anger in safe and healthy ways.
- I cannot lose God’s love.
- I am God’s child.
- I am secure in God’s hand. Nothing I could ever do will ever make God let go of me.
- I have a purposeful future. God has a good plan for my life.
- I can trust God to guide me, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time.
Games and conversation starters
For games and conversation starters to change negative self-talk and have fun doing it, go here.