Did you know that the way we think impacts the way we feel, and how we feel impacts what we do?

That’s why it’s so important for all of us – including our children - to push back against negative self-talk.

Our mind is always thinking and sometimes it feels like there’s a bully in our head, telling us all these mean things, such as:

  • We aren’t good enough.
  • We’re going to fail.
  • Other people won’t like us.

If negative self-talk always stays in our mind, we’ll feel sad, nervous, anxious or afraid, and those emotions can sometimes keep us from doing the things we want to do.

That’s why talking back to those thoughts can be so important: just because it’s in our head doesn’t mean it’s true.

How can we push back against negative self-talk?

  • Think about talking back to the bully or playing “thought detective.”
  • Ask yourself: “What evidence do I have that this thought is true? What evidence do I have that this thought is false?”
  • Start creating new thoughts to talk back to that bully. For example, if your child has a big game or performance coming up and they start thinking, “I’m not going to do well,” they can come up with more positive thoughts to replace the negative, such as: “I know I practiced a lot for this, and I know I’m better today than I was yesterday.” Have them think about how they’ve succeeded before this, or if the worst-case scenario happens, think about how they’d handle it.
  • Write it down if it helps. Use sticky notes to remind your child about those new positive thoughts that they’re having.

When it comes to getting rid of negative thoughts, it takes practice. The more you repeat positive thoughts, the more you focus on them over the negative ones, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll handle that stress!


Thought Challenge Chart
Use this chart to track negative thoughts and difficult emotions that might come up after a variety of situations.
Thought Challenging Worksheet