How to Help Your Child Channel Negative Thoughts

It's normal to feel intimidated and inadequate, but letting these feelings control us and our emotions is what makes us victims, rather than in charge.

Girls and boys of all ages, are exposed to negative thoughts on a daily basis. They have moments of feeling unimportant and experiencing low self-esteem. The negative thoughts running through their minds are like a river of water let loose by a damaged dam.

Inasmuch as this may pose a serious challenge, it is of paramount importance that we get to understand that these negative thoughts are part and parcel of our daily lives. It's normal to feel intimidated and inadequate, but letting these feelings control us and our emotions is what makes us victims, rather than in charge.

A negative thought is like a contagious disease which can be cured. As long as you learn the effective ways to identify or spot it, and acknowledge its presence and effects, then you can comfortably find a way to channel it into something great — or prevent it from becoming a problem.

Channeling negativity and resetting a child's mindset involves three steps:

1. Spot it.​ 

The very first step to channeling negative thoughts of inadequacies and low self-esteem is to be able to identify or spot the “grungies.” Know when the quest to become better is leading your child to make invalid comparisons, which may ruin his or her self-confidence.

Does your child say things like:

  1. “I can’t.”
  2. “I’m terrible at this.”
  3. “I will never get this.”
  4. “I’m going to fail.”
  5. “No one likes me.”
  6. Compares himself or herself to others.

If, so, it's time to take action. The longer your child tells himself or herself that something is impossible, the more such thoughts are imprinted on his or her brain.

2. Acknowledge it.

Acknowledge the presence of negative feelings. More often than not, our challenges get the better part of us because we have failed to acknowledge them. Until you see these negative thoughts as a challenge that requires urgent attention, you can never be free from them.

3. Channel it.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether we think we can, or we think we can’t, we are right.” At this stage, skills are required to know the difference between feeling and knowing, having a power shift mentality, learning the act of gratitude, being able to accept yourself for who you are, and reflecting on the best ways to become a better person.

Be proactive.

  • Seize the moment. Ask your child or teen in the morning how he or she is feeling. Talk about the great day ahead. Or before a big test, remind your child to be prepared and to power talk to himself or herself before the test.
  • Look for teachable moments. When you begin to hear the negative thoughts, ask your child or teen if he or she can look at the situation differently.

Be conscious.

  • Pay attention to your reaction. If something goes wrong or you make a mistake , reframe and think about how your child can learn from it. If he or she receives a bad grade, for example, take the time to go over what he or she doesn't understand about the subject.
  • Allow your child to hear you positively talk to yourself.

Channeling and managing negative thoughts allows your conscious and subconscious minds to be in a position to best support your child.

“It is not always possible to do away with negative thinking, but with persistence and practice, one can gain mastery over them so that they do not take the upper hand.” — Stephen Richards

Kamini Wood is a life and resilience coach for girls, teens and young women. Her goal is to help these young women manage pressures and fears so they can confidently become successful women. Success … as they define it. She can be reached via email at contact@itsauthenticme.com at itsauthenticme.com.