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Help your Child Handle Negative Thinking

As a parent, we bet you’ve heard the following negative phrases endless times:

  • I hate that subject!
  • I hate myself!
  • I just can’t do it!
  • I can’t do anything right!
  • Everyone else is better than me!

From primary school children to those studying GCSEs, sometimes our children can be their own worst critic.

It’s hard to listen to negative thinking when all you want is for your daughter or son to be happy in their own skin, to enjoy learning and grow up excited by all the opportunities on offer.

Sadly, many young people struggle to feel positive about themselves for all sorts of reasons. Doubts, worries and fears strike all of us at some point in our lives, but for children it can be a hard thing to handle.

And when fears and self-doubt turn into an expectation of failure, the situation can spiral out of control. Try not to worry. Instead, here are some positive steps you can take to help your child move forwards.

Practical ideas to blitz negative thinking

  1. Acknowledge the Problem. Disregarding a child’s thoughts – even if they seem extreme – can result in them feeling isolated. Instead, it’s far better to normalise a problem. “It’s normal to feel like this. I did too at your age.” Instead of demonising, this approach helps a child feel listened to. An important first step.
  2. Aim to Reframe. Because children can get stuck into negative thinking patterns, it’s important to help them look at something from a different angle. Remind them of a time when they did well at something despite being worried beforehand. It can help them keep present fears in perspective. The idea is to encourage ‘feel the fear but do it anyway’ thinking. Genuine praise for even the smallest achievement can turn the tide over time too.
  3. Teach that Success is Linked to Failure. Making – and learning from – mistakes is what life is all about. None of us get things right 100% of the time. How many of us have failed a driving test, baked a disastrous cake,¬† done or said the wrong thing? We’ve lost count! Sharing your mistakes can help your child see that failure is a normal part of living.
  4. Encourage Small Steps. Work out what is triggering your child’s negative thinking. It might be a learning problem, a previous failure, just hormones. Whatever the trigger, help them take small steps forward to reduce negativity. Set aside some time every day that you can spend with your child. Tackle a hard homework together, ask what’s been bugging them, let them know you are there for them. Don’t get angry, keep calm if today doesn’t work. There is always tomorrow.
  5. Get Active. Life is more than work and school. While your child performing well at school matters, it’s not everything. Carving out a life beyond school is just as important. Cook or read together, go for a walk, have a kick-about with a ball, encourage them to join a local group or activity. Encouraging your child to ‘get out of their head’ for a while can help regulate any negative thinking.

Tackle learning problems head on

When learning issues stop achievement and nothing else seems to work, it can be wise to call in the experts.

As tutors, whether online or face-to-face, we understand how to approach students who are stuck. Often, a learning problem needs to be unpicked with someone who just ‘gets it.’

Sometimes, children don’t want to share their learning difficulties with parents as they don’t want them to see their weaknesses. That’s why our team of tutors can be a godsend.

A friendly face is waiting for your call. Or feel free to email us if easier. Get in touch when you’re ready here.

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