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First, use your good judgment and know there are times when you need to go to your child’s feelings. When your child seems too sad, too angry, too guilty, or too fearful, put your arm around your child and ask, “What’s really wrong?” Listen. Don’t try to change, correct, or put down your child’s thoughts. Just listen. Let your child pour out her heart and listen. When your child is almost done, ask, “Is there more?” Then listen. Congratulations! You’ve probably relieved your child of painful emotion and cleared air for a new beginning.
The second way to help your child straighten his thinking cap is called THOUGHT-STOPPING. It’s best to teach this technique when your child is not upset and is in a mood to talk with you. The first step is to encourage your child to notice his negative self-talk, like “Everybody hates me.” “It’s not my fault.” “I can’t do it.” The second step is to help your child recall three powerful images of him having done something good that felt great. Here are a few examples of images that may be powerful for your child:
Playing with her pet
Catching his first fish
Learning how to swim
Laughing so hard her sides ached
Doing a great job on his homework
Make sure your child is one who chooses positive images. Tell your child that each image must be more powerful than negative thought.
Teach and practice following several times when your child is in a good mood. That way your child will know how to use THOUGHT-STOPPING when she needs it.
When your child catches herself brooding on negative thoughts tell her to switch them to one of positive images by yelling, “Stop!” inside her head to negative thoughts. Tell your child to stay with positive image for 30 seconds. (This prevents her from switching back to her negative thinking.) Time 30 seconds so she’ll know how long it is. Then have your child say, “I am in control.” Your child will be too. She’ll be in control of her thinking cap.
You have just explored what goes on under crooked thinking caps. You have learned how crooked thinkers grow into unhappy adults. You have also discovered two techniques to help your child straighten his/her thinking cap. Now it’s time to teach these techniques to your child so that your child grows into a positive person of character.
Jean Tracy has created Thought-Stopping Charts for your convenience.
Jean Tracy,MSS, former teacher, probation officer and child/family counselor, now author and speaker, is an award winning Distinguished Toastmaster. Jean helps parents and teachers raise awesome kids with solid characters. You will find her book, Character Building on BackTalk Street, her Thought-Stopping Charts,parenting products, and FREE bonding activities, parenting tips, and parenting articles at, http://www.KidsDiscuss.com.