It can be extremely frustrating to watch and hear your child engage in self-deprecation when you know your child is a bright and capable child. It can be even more frustrating when the solution can be seemingly as simple as looking at something with a “glass half full” mentality. Other times, it’s frustrating and a challenge because we can’t understand from where the child’s negative perception and/or view is coming.
So how do we meet a child where they are at and support them to navigate a situation that perpetuates a negative self-view and, even further, negative self talk?
Curiosity. Empathy. Modeling.
Curiosity: Sometimes the problem we see is not the problem with which the child is struggling. Meet the child with the intention to learn more about what they are saying, what their needs are, and from where they are coming. Be mindful and try to refrain from offering logic and solutions right away.
Empathy: Convey that you understand and hear the child, and further, let them know that it’s normal and acceptable to be frustrated, angry, etc. Conversely, offer them the chance to clarify and explain themselves if you are not hearing them correctly. Often, children (and adults!), when validated, are more patient and apt to work with you if they know you are listening and you have an understanding of their needs at the forefront of whatever it is that follows. (Everyone feels like giving up sometimes, and that’s OK!)
Modeling: If modeling is the biggest indicator of learning, we can teach our children how to navigate these frustrations by showing them how to effectively problem solve (especially if the solution is learning how to tolerate confusion, ambiguity, and not having the answers). Showing a child that these things are normal and can be dealt with can help the child to feel at ease when facing similar challenges going forward. Hopefully, too, they see that negative self talk, is not a positive and/or productive way to cope with negative feelings.
Have You Googled “Stop Yelling at My Kids” and get tips like… go take a bubble bath or join a crossfit gym? Ugh, that advice is just bad! ?Calm Parenting: Learn to Stop Yelling helps you pin-point your unique anger, and apply logical strategies to calm your inner chaos, so you can get back to being a calm parent.