Help them tame habit of be­ing too self- crit­i­cal

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

YOUR child is try­ing to do their home­work and then you hear: “I’m so dumb!” Your heart cringes and you try to smooth it out with some­thing like: “You’re not dumb” and the re­tort is “Yes, I am”.

You don’t know what to say and start to worry, does he re­ally think he’s dumb?

It is hard to hear your child be so self- crit­i­cal with their neg­a­tive self- talk. Your re­ac­tion is to re­as­sure them that they are smart, tal­ented, or won­der­ful. Un­for­tu­nately their words are an in­di­ca­tion of what they are feel­ing in­side. So how do you help as a par­ent?

Firstly, don’t try to tell them the op­po­site. Be­cause at that mo­ment they are feel­ing dumb, stupid or use­less.

You need to find the un­der­ly­ing feel­ings you think your child is feel­ing and val­i­date that. Let them know you un­der­stand what they are say­ing. Try to re­word it for them to some­thing more prac­ti­cal rather than a self- crit­i­cism.

Per­haps try: “sounds like that home­work is hard to­day”, or “you sound frus­trated”, “you find maths tricky at times”. Or you can ask a ques­tion such as: “Why is it you are find­ing your home­work hard to­day?” or “What is it about this that is so frus­trat­ing?”

Need­ing a few other ideas, then you can help your child learn to re­phrase what they are think­ing. By that I mean flip it around.

So in­stead of them say­ing: “I’m use­less at home­work”, sim­ply say back to them: “this home­work is hard tonight” or “mak­ing mis­takes is part of learn­ing”.

Other ex­am­ples I use in my work with chil­dren are: “just be­cause you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true” or “just be­cause you feel like that, doesn’t mean it’s true”. Help them to think about an­other time when home­work has been tricky and they man­aged to work it out.

So next time you hear that neg­a­tive self­talk blurt out, you can try these and see the dif­fer­ence.

These will re­ally help, your child will feel that you un­der­stand them and the frus­tra­tion will fade away. Email ques­tions to aboutababy@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au. Nicole Pierotti is a child psy­chol­o­gist who is an ex­pert in help­ing solve sleep prob­lems. Call 4724 2600 or go to babysmiles. com. au

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.