Girl thinking negatively, girl pensive

We can all experience overwhelming negative thoughts when faced with a tricky situation or when we are taken out of our comfort zone. We may think, ‘Oh no’, help’, ‘it’s going to go wrong’ or ‘I can’t do this’. New experiences and change can feel very scary no matter what age you are and children aren’t exempt from experiencing negative thoughts and beliefs. The children that I coach often have these negative feelings as they are related to change and are experienced when the child wants to move forward in their lives. They may want to change a part of themselves (feeling more confident, their actions or responses) or changing the situation they find themselves in.

Helping Children Deal With Negative Thoughts

Ask your child to write down each negative thought that they have, then challenge them on it. For example, if they are worried that everything is going to go wrong get them to think about what they really mean by ‘going wrong’ and what it is they fear about it.  Ask them to consider:

  • How will they know things have gone wrong?
  • What does it mean to them when it goes wrong?
  • What steps could they take to foresee problems and to ensure that it goes well?
  • What kind of preparation can they do?
  • What experience do they have when it went right?
  • Can they replicate that again?
  • How does it make them feel when things go wrong/go right?

There are lots of questions you can ask and then instead of the, ‘It is going to go wrong’ you can help your child have a more positive thought like, ‘It is going to go well. I am going to try my best and to be honest only I will know if I make a mistake’. The same goes for when their brain is telling them ‘Oh no’. What is your child dreading the most? Talk about each of their fears and challenge why they would not happen. Look at their thoughts and feelings from all angles and look for the positive. We need to help children turn those biggest, most negative thoughts into ones that have a quieter voice. And we can help them do that through questioning, challenging and turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

Does your child experience negative thoughts? How do you help them address them so that they can take on new challenges and experiences?

If you would like to work on negative thoughts with your child at home grab a copy of my ‘WOW’ Board. It’s an easy to use creative tool that can help get your child thinking more positively.