If your child has developed a pessimistic view that affects the way they see themselves, how they feel and how they interact with the world, you can do something about it. The following are some ideas to assist you to change your child’s automatic pessimism.
Talk about self-talk
Most of us are not consciously aware of our self-talk hut it is always there, giving us information, sending us messages, warning us against dangers and telling us what we can and cannot do, what we should and should not do. When I was young the nuns at my school referred to that inner voice as our conscience. They were extremely skilled at putting us in touch with our conscience – so much so that I recall on a number of occasions my inner voice screaming out to stop what was doing because it was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Discuss self-talk with your child. Help the child to identify the voice in their head that gives directions, reassures them when difficulties arise and acts as a guide. Children who spend time alone usually recognize their internal voice immediately. It is important to reinforce that self-talk is perfectly normal – everybody does it. Help them to understand that their self-talk or thoughts influence their behavior and the way they react to situations.
If your child can’t identify their internal dialogue, ask them to look in the mirror and tell you what is running through their mind. Their internal voice will generally give a running commentary of what they see.