Children will say negative things about themselves and it is our role as caring adults to help direct them away from destructive self-talk. Constructive self-talk is very common and we all do it to ourselves and when we hear our children talk about themselves constructively, it may not raise any concerns. But how would we know if negative self-talk is becoming a problem, causing our kids to experience anxiety and depression? Dr. Busman, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, suggests parents and caregivers should lookout for these signs from their children:
- Persistent and pervasive negative self-talk
- Change patterns in eating, sleeping, relationships, and/or schoolwork
- Continuous vague statements such as “I don’t feel well” in the absence of actual physical symptoms
Parents and caregivers should help their kids improve their relationships with themselves by battling against destructive self-talk with a more optimistic and realistic approach. For instance, if your child says he or she has no one to talk to on the first day of school, especially when they start at a new school, you may not want to say “it’ll be fine, you’re going to make a bunch of friends!” Instead, try saying “the first day of school may seem scary, but once you settle in and know the routine of the day, you will likely make friends and grow to love school.”
For more tips on battling against negative self-talk, visit https://childmind.org/article/how-to-help-kids-who-are-too-hard-on-themselves/.