Raising children can be a challenge, but if you look at it from the child’s perspective, it can even be more challenging and confusing.
According to science, negative events and experiences imprint faster and can linger longer than positive ones. Why is that? Why does our mind seem to dwell on the negative? From a functional perspective this makes sense, that our minds are built to look for negative information in the environment and to hold onto it once we find it. It can be difficult to see the upside and that it takes work, that we have to put effort into looking at the bright side of things.
An evidence based treatment that teaches us that our thoughts create our feelings is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is important for many reasons as if we have negative thoughts we will most likely have negative emotions and vice versa. We can teach our kids to accept negative emotions and process them in a healthy way by encouraging positive affirmations and thinking, leading to more positive thoughts.
But there is good news. As parents there is a lot we can do to help our children develop positive thought processes.
- Model positive self-talk. Practice using positive thinking skills aloud when talking about yourself and others. By practicing positive self-talk it can help reduce stress, improve self-esteem, inspire productivity, and improve your child’s overall mental and physical health.
- Spending a few minutes each day thinking about the things you’re grateful for. Doing this regularly can help it become a habit.
- Read inspiring stories and poetry to your children such as historical events, biographies about great heroes, scientific discoveries, etc.
Some E.L.O Deck cards that relate to the importance of helping your child create a positive thought process include:
I am kind
I love myself
I have great ideas
I do my best
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