A little bully, nit-picking inside our brain at everything we attempt. Often linked to anxiety, it sounds like a very adult-consumed syndrome but that’s not the case. As a parent to a six-year-old, I’ve been surprised how often I hear my daughter talk to herself in a way that could prove damaging to her overall perception of herself.
“I can’t do this. It’s too hard!” she says as she tries to make a kaleidoscope out of a discarded kitchen roll holder. She was adamant and determined when she gathered her supplies, but as the task grew more complicated than she envisaged, she blamed herself for not being competent enough to finish the project without help. Looking over my shoulder as I gathered the dishes, I believed giving her the space to figure out the puzzle by herself was the right thing to do until I heard her angrily give out to herself.
“I’m too stupid,” she muttered.
It wasn’t the first time I heard her have such conversations with herself. “You’re not stupid, don’t say that,” I reply in some attempt to comfort her.
My efforts are pointless as she disappointingly abandons the half-made kaleidoscope and is in no mood to listen to my positive acclamations. I realise I have no idea how to handle the situation and I’m sure I’m not the only parent who worries over their children talking negatively to themselves.
Negative thinking is as natural as life itself, says Dr Malie Coyne, clinical psychologist. “Because of the way the human mind works, we all speak to ourselves unkindly sometimes, which has huge power over how we feel about ourselves and others and how we make sense of our experiences.”
To read more of Fortune and Coynes advice check out the full article here on the Irish Times website.