How To Handle Negative Self Talk of your child | Parenting Advice

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Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018

Children get stressed. Not all adults recognize that. While children may not exactly say that they feel stressed, they often resort to negative self talk, saying things like, “I’m good at nothing,” “I’m so stupid” or, “Nobody likes me”. A child gets frustrated very easily and, sometimes, even when you, as a parent want only to support your child, your own frustration can get in the way of encouraging your child to think more positively and actually find ways of addressing the situation rather than becoming too emotional about it.

Negative Self Talk : Is It A Bad Thing?


Well, even you tend to talk yourself down sometimes. Everybody loses heart but, it’s most especially troubling when children experience helplessness or, a feeling of being ostracized.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define stress as any “internal or external influences that disrupt an individual’s normal state of well-being. These influences are capable of affecting health by causing emotional distress and leading to a variety of physiological changes. These changes include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and a dramatic rise in hormone levels”. This definition definitely makes it clear that stress is bad for your child.

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Based on the findings of the American Psychological Association in its Stress in American survey conducted in 2010, 90 per cent of the kids surveyed claimed that they could tell when their parents are stressed and expressed being stressed, as a result, in many ways. The study also found out that the children experienced the following symptoms of stress:

  • sleeping difficulties
  • frequent headaches
  • too much or too little appetite
  • feeling mad and getting involved in fights

According to a book published in 2009, depression affects an estimated 7.5 million parents living in the US which, in turn, stresses out approximately 15 million children, increasing the probability of them developing generally poor health. The resulting negative self talk causes depression and may even drive children to become suicidal. According to the same publication, “Depression is significantly associated with more hostile, negative parenting, and with more disengaged (withdrawn) parenting, both with a moderate effect size.”

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Is self talking a disease? Is it bad if you talk to yourself? Although there are certain mental illnesses associated with talking to oneself, self-talk is generally an ordinary thought mechanism which, according to experts, help regulate human behavior. Self-talk makes you think about whether or not your should do something or, if you should even say anything at all.

As for children, using encouraging words for kids in school and at home are among the top tips on helping their young minds on how to overcome negative self talk that can seriously impede their development and wound their self-esteem for the rest of their lives. Finding words of encouragement for kids alone, however, will not stop negative self-talk in children. You need to sit down, pay closer attention, and enter your child’s world to really understand what’s going on in his or her head.

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How To Deal With Negative Child


Whenever you catch you child saying statements similar to the negative self-talk examples listed above, you shouldn’t dismiss it as just a slip, most especially when you begin to notice that the episodes are becoming more frequent. Here are tips on how to stop negative self talk anxiety so you can help your child avoid the dire consequences of this negative activity affecting his overall health and well-being:

1. Spot the negative self-talk. Catch your child blurting out nonsense to himself. Don’t correct him by scolding. Encourage him or her to speak up what’s troubling her by pausing for a moment to really listen more closely.

2. Empathize. Don’t judge. Put yourself in your child’s shoes and consider for a moment your child’s innocent, inexperienced mind. Find a way to turn the positive into negative. If your child says he or she is being stupid for not knowing an answer to some math equation, you can say, “No, you’re not”. Then, turn your child’s attention to the real issue, in this case, the math equation.

3. Help your child focus on the real problem. Flip this negative situation into something more positive that helps your child to learn how he or she can better cope with unfavorable or unfamiliar situations. These moments help your child make better decisions as an adult. You can validate that the math equation is really hard but that, it really just takes a cooler head and more practice. Offer help.

4. Probe. Don’t stop there. Ask questions to help you find out what could be causing your child to think badly about himself or herself. You might find out an underlying problem about your child’s negative self-talk, like bullying, needing more attention from you or, generally requiring help with academic work.

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5. Solve the underlying cause. Sometimes, just knowing how to stop negative self talk is not enough to correct what’s going on inside your child’s head. Get professional help if you think you have to.

6. Turn the negative into positive. Teach your how to replace the “I’m stupid” script in his head with a positive statement like “I can do it” every time he or she is faced by a challenging situation. Daily positive thoughts can influence your child’s behavior and health.

7. Set realistic standards. You should teach your child how to moderate the standards he or she sets for himself or herself. Teach your child the value of waiting and that everything comes in their perfect time. The best way to teach your child that is by not being a perfectionist yourself.


There are a number of ways that your child may be screaming for “help” deep inside. Hear your child out. Use these pointers as the first few steps in getting down to the bottom of your child’s negative self-talk problem. Help your child attain the happiness and peace of mind he or she deserves.

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