“I don’t have any friends”
“No one likes me”
These are the typical comments I hear from Primary school aged children everyday in my room. Mostly none of these thoughts are true. So what is going on here? These are their negative thoughts. They are the words you hear slip out or said in frustration. They are a key to their inner self.
As parents we often try to get them to change them into positive thoughts. You know what, that doesn’t usually work. It’s hard to flip a negative thought to a positive. We all have negative thoughts and jump to conclusions, what we need to be mindful of as parents is how often our child is saying such negative thoughts. As the self defeating thoughts like “I have no friends” triggers such emotional turmoil such as anxiety, pain, and sadness. Without change over time these negativity thoughts become anxiety and depression.
So how to help your child? What works better is teaching your child to find the facts. I am talking cold hard facts, evidence of their self defeating thoughts. To do this you have to ask questions like. “Who did you sit with at lunchtime today?” “When you had to pair up in class who did you choose?” “How did you spend your time at lunch?” OR “What mark did you get on your spelling test last week?” “What did your teacher say?” “Did you see your test?”
Collecting facts or evidence help children very quickly to see that their thoughts are not in fact true. Very quickly you notice their behaviour change and their confidence grow. Another way to collect facts is through sticker charts, or have a clipboard and tick categories of what really happens. My other tip is to have a saying, this is one of my favourites “Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Don’t believe everything you think.”