When the word Self- talk is mentioned people generally things that it has to deal with being able to speak to yourself through your inner voice. However, we must also come to the understanding that Self-talk is the ability to provide opinions and evaluations to yourself of what you think is right or wrong or what you should be doing or not.
Every human being must come to a certain state of self control. This is a mental state where you begin to challenge your inner mind; this state is known as Self-talk. For example, say you are left with a decision to either win or lose. You make up your mind to win, reassuring yourself of the advantages you will accomplish when you win. In this state you have spoken to yourself to win and therefore will focus your mind on being at the top of your game. This brings us to the two types of self talk which are namely known as the: Positive and Negative Self-talk.
What is a Positive and Negative Self-Talk?
Positive Self-Talk is an important strategy to achieve success. It focuses on the ability to encourage one’s self simply with a dialogue of assurance. It also means believing you can achieve something concrete or good for yourself. It is a way to keep an individual relaxed, happy, focused, disciplined, confident and determined.
We must understand in an individual, we have the inner and outer world; while the outer world is our physical appearance the inner world deals with much more. It contains our thoughts and emotions that give reactions to our physical body. This is why as parents it is important to develop our children into thinking positively of themselves. A child loses self-esteem and gets accompanied by bad peer groups because he or she has not been able to develop a positive self-talk that will assure them a positive character and mode of thinking.
Negative Self-Talk is one which comes through anxiety and depression. It can seriously damage one’s aim to achieve success because it comes with a lot of doubts and worries. Once an individual begins to talk to himself/herself in a negative way then they remain stagnant; they won’t aim at achieving anything which will end up crumbling their future. Leading to various things like: constant sadness, failure and poverty. Most children especially at adolescent age begin to develop this pattern of negativity; that is why as parents it is important that we are aware of the change of behavior on our children’s life.
The Importance of Positive Self-Talk in Training Your Child
Parenting is a very serious business; however, it is how we choose to train our children that will lead to their future. This is why as parents we should be very attentive to the affairs of our children. Positive self-talk is one of the major tools that are necessary in training up a child. It is important that as parents you must learn to encourage your child after disciplining them. Learn to embrace them and let them understand their mistakes. This act alone is developing a positive self-Talk in their minds. Because he or she begins to understand they are not worthless, they understand the importance of making their parents proud and the importance of being a great person in life; all this will be made known through the love and care you give them even after punishing them for their mistakes. Most parents fail to understand that a child develops positive self-talk by watching their parents, by knowing how much you love them and want them to be great in life.
What are the advantages of Practicing Positive Self-Talk?
“You are never truly alone if you are there for yourself’- Dr. Phil
1. It Builds Self-esteem
Having confidence in one’s self helps you understand your worth. It removes doubts and fear from your thinking faculty because once you are able to emulate words like “I Can Do It” you will find yourself reaching the top while others are still lagging behind. You have to be your own biggest fan. Once you begin to feed your mind with healthy thoughts about yourself there will be a certain confidence you will develop that nothing becomes too difficult. One of the best ways to start building up your child’s self-esteem is by studying the way he/she talks and approach people.
2. It Improves the Way of Reasoning
Sometimes you wonder how great men made it in life and why you think they are different from you. However, they are not in any way different; if you ask 85 percent of them it is mostly because they learned to “think positively” of themselves. They were not weighed down by others’ assumptions and negative perspective of life. You may discover your child is thinking negatively via their behavior; they easily get intimidated, arrogant, impatient and dull. Once you are able to influence a positive self-talk to their mind, their standard of living changes and you will notice them becoming sharper, intelligent, bold and respectable.
3. It Enhances a Healthy Life
It is scientifically proven that one of the best ways to live a healthy life is by reducing stress. This is also pertinent to positive self-talk; it reduces stress of the mind. It allows your child not to worry about losing. For example, if a child is to pass an exam had he/she develops negative thinking; it will be hard for the child to prepare well for the exams or he or she might over prepare out of the fear of failing. This may result with them being over worked because of fear and doubt. In the end, the child might collapse or become ill. This is why as parents we are to build a positive self-talk in the minds of our children, especially in their difficult times, so they do not lose confidence in themselves and become ill.
3 Ways to Improve Positive Self-Talk at Home and in School
1. Be an Example
As parents it is not enough to encourage our children about positive self-talk without being an example. We must learn not to only teach the children how to think positively, but we must also learn to apply it to ourselves. Children watch parents a lot more than they watch any other person. Once they notice you lack positive thinking they begin to emulate negative thoughts. As parents we must first teach ourselves on how to positively think before we can apply this training to our children.
2. Pay Attention
It is important you learn to pay attention to your child. You might not necessarily know what they are thinking but you can pay attention to every detail they tell you. For example if your child is being bullied at home or in school it is not enough for you to complain to teachers or discipline the bully. You will also need to pay attention to your child, ask why he/she was unable defend themselves. Bring in the idea of positive self-talk and make them understand the meaning of having confidence in their mind to challenge obstacles before them. This goes a long way in the life of the child.
3. Have a Relationship With Your Child
It is just not enough for you to pay attention. This is also advisable to improve positive self-talk with your child. Once you have a good relationship with your child, he/she will listen and understand the message you are trying to pass to them. Most parents do not develop a good relationship with their child, which is why many of them take advice from outsiders and end up doing wrong things. Once there is a relationship, your children will feel free to express their thoughts to you, and then you can determine the positive ones and negative ones.
How Can You Help Your Child to ‘Think Positively”
When you hear them say something negative, immediately react to it. Find out what is the problem, reassure them and help them make a positive mindset.
Investigate what led them to think negatively; ask them questions like:
• What made you to say that?
• Ask your inner thought? Is it good or bad?
• What type of friends do you hang with?
• What type of books do you read?
• What type of movie do you watch when I am not around?
• What do you think is good or bad?
• What do you want to become in life?
• Who are your mentors?
It is also advisable as parents that you say encouraging words to your child to build their self-worth. You can say phrases like:
• “You are a diamond and diamonds are rare.”
• “A child of mine is never a failure; don’t ever say you have failed.”
• “You are a blessing.”
• “I love you and always will, no matter what.”
• “Be a winner, always in your heart.”
• “No one is perfect.”
Phrases like the ones above will reassure the child of how much they mean to you and will help them think positively of themselves. Allow them to understand that it is not bad to keep trying. Tell them to never give up on what they wish to accomplish. All this will guide your child’s future to be brighter.
How Can You Remove Negative Thoughts From a Child?
Although it is not enough just to encourage and improve a child’s positive thinking, there is no doubt that he/she will still think negative once in a while. In this case you need to nurture your child because there may be times you may not be available for your child. This is when you use your child’s likes and dislikes to counter his/ her inner thoughts. Here are a few things to consider:
• If your child is someone that is playful and cheerful, make sure he/she is surrounded by cheerful people. You may not be able to control the people and friends your child meets, but you can make them understand the relevance of having friends with positive mindset. A friend, who won’t bring negative thoughts to them, makes them understand the advantages of having a good friend and the disadvantages of having bad friends.
• If your child is someone who loves reading books or novels, ensure he/she is surrounded with motivational books. Let them understand the relevance of reading such books so that in their leisure hour they read such books that will keep their mind positive. They would not develop interest in reading immoral books that will pollute their inner thoughts.
• If your child spends much time listening to music or watching television, encourage them to the positive sides of these things. Ensure that they take more interest in listening to inspirational songs and watching didactic movies instead of what is being listened to and watched by most kids nowadays. This will help their thoughts remain positive.
• If your child is on social media, let them know how beneficial social media can be. Recommend them to engage in healthy chats or moral chats that focus on developing their future. It is always advisable to monitor at the stage where they can now have access to social media. It will help them not to trail off; however, monitor them with love not out of fear. Otherwise you might lose your relationship with your child.
• If your child is one who loves athletics and sports activities, seize this opportunity to acknowledge the fact that those athletes were great only because they were able to think positively at achieving their goals.
Do not chaste your child’s nature or preference, even though it might not fit your preference. It is advisable to just encourage and love them in order not to lose your child to the world.
Check out our Self-Esteem Workbook for children.