One of the most difficult challenges I faced over the years in my therapy practice was getting kids I counseled to say good things about themselves. We are all hard on ourselves. We can always find things wrong with what we did or the way we handled a situation.
If we are critical of ourselves, we will most likely be critical of our kids. How do we change that? The more positive we are with ourselves, the more positive we will be with our children.
Infuse positive energy into yourself first.
Look for the good in your actions and your relationships. When you fall into a ‘stinking thinking’ trap, here are the steps to change your outlook.
1. Notice your negative self-talk.
2. Visualize a Stop Sign in your head and then say ‘Stop’ out loud.
3. You have now interrupted your negative thought process with a visualized picture and words.
4. Replace your unfavorable reasoning with a positive statement.
5. Find something uplifting to eradicate your pessimism—like music, laughter, mantras, or a phone call to a friend.
Next time you find a negative musing in your head, begin the process again. It takes a few weeks to change a habit. Don’t give up on yourself.
Introduce this process to your children, but in a simpler way.
Talk with your child.
I like to use bedtime to sit for a few minutes and visit with my kids about their day. It’s a good time to infuse some positive energy into their souls.
1. Ask how their day was.
2. Did they find it enjoyable? Have them explain.
3. What would they like to change?
4. If they could do anything different, what would it be?
5. Let them fill you in on all the details.
Then ask them to tell you:
1. Three things they did that were good.
2. Three positive things about themselves.
I am always surprised that this is such a difficult task for many children. When the youth I met with in therapy couldn’t think of anything they did that was good, I had them begin with general positive statements such as this:
“I like my red fingernail polish.”
“ My long hair is soft after I wash it.”
“This is my favorite shirt.”
Even though these are not truly good things about the child himself, it’s a start. You could suggest some positive statements to help him begin. As he gets in the habit of doing this, he will think about it during the day and be ready to tell you when evening comes.
Reviewing your day in a positive way is a good habit to get into. I like to look back and think about the things I’ve accomplished. Am I happy with my actions? Would I do some things differently? Share these techniques with your children.
First be positive with yourself, then you will be positive with your children.
Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Zig Ziglar