‘Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative….’ Do you know this song? Some say focusing on the positive is the key to happiness. I happen to think it’s a great concept – one that has become my mantra when teaching art and parenting my kids.
Having positive self-talk can make a big difference when our kids are learning something new. Take learning to draw- when kids are unhappy with their drawing, it can go one of two ways- they either keep trying or they give up. Wouldn’t it be great if our kids’ internal voice was compassionate and compelled them to keep trying?
Here are two ways parents can foster positive self talk in their kids to promote confidence and self-compassion:
1. Model it – Face it: Most of us have negative chatter cluttering our minds. The challenge is to interrupt it before we start spewing it in front of our kids. This is easier said than done of course. I try to be conscious of positive modeling but I have at times missed the mark: I cringe knowing I have called myself “stupid” in front of my kids, modeling self-criticism rather than self-respect. Instead, when you do something you are proud of, let your kids know it. Show them it’s OK to celebrate a job well done – to be one’s own cheerleader – and to feel pride. When kids are empowered to pat themselves on the back, confidence builds from within.
2. Formalize It – In order to integrate the phrase “Articulate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative” into your family’s motto, write down behaviors that are supportive, and put them somewhere on the wall. Phrases like “be kind to self and others” and “think creatively” can serve as positive reminders in our homes every day.
What a special gift it is to teach our kids how to be gentle on themselves and empower them to work through the discomfort of problem solving and find their own solutions. Kids can face all sorts of difficulties and challenges in life if they have unconditional self-love intact.
Has your internal dialogue helped or hindered going after what you want? I’d love to hear about it.