Highly sensitive children (HSC) analyse situations in detail; they think deeply about things that have happened and the repercussions they can have. It’s a trait that makes HSCs cautious, that triggers a pause before acting. Sometimes though a child focuses so much on the negatives, or possible negative outcomes, that it becomes unhealthy. Here’s how to help your child think more positively.
A simple written statement hanging on a wall in a child’s bedroom can make a huge difference. I know because it’s something a counsellor created with one of my sons and I saw it have a positive impact.
One read simply: Today is a new day. Another: Today will be my best day.
Simple short sentences, but a potent reminder to my son that whatever happened yesterday is gone and today is a new chance to have a fantastic day.
He’s now older and facing different issues so we’re currently constructing new affirmations for him, as we work through his Big Life Journal.
Tip: It works for adults too……
Having negative feelings is not something we should banish. Negative feelings are as valid as positive ones. However, we need to help our children when they process those negative feelings in an unhealthy way.
Negative thoughts can seriously affect a child’s self-esteem.
When negative thoughts become such a big hurdle that they become self-defeating it’s time to help a child reframe their thoughts. We need to help our kids before their negative self-talk dominates.
So how do we reframe negative thoughts? Focus on common negative thoughts that your child has. Examine the language that your child uses – is there a never or an always in there? Help your child find alternative words to express their feelings. Help them understand that there’s always a way to turn negative into positive.
Turn “I always get this type of math question wrong. I’m so stupid” into “There’s one part of this type of math question I don’t understand yet, but I am on the right track.”
You can support a child reframe negative thoughts with positive thoughts by asking whether their thought is a helpful or an unhelpful one. And then by asking them how they could change their thought into a helpful one.
Journal or Talk About the Fun Stuff
Turning negative into positive can be as simple as writing or drawing about the good stuff that day in a journal. Or putting all the things a child is grateful for onto paper. It’s a simple but effective way of focusing on the good, positive aspects of a day. Read: Fill a Page to Empty a HSC Mind and Why Journaling is So Good for You.
Just talking, listing the great things that day can be effective. I stood at bedtime with my son talking about the day. He was feeling a bit down for some reason or another and so we talked though his week, focusing only on the fun stuff he had done. He sat up, turned to me and said, “Actually I’ve had a great week haven’t I?”
It’s a great tool to take a child out of a negative moment so they can see the bigger picture.
Celebrate the positives.
Help a child learn where their talents and strengths lie.
Praise effort and not the result.
One of the best ways to help build a child’s self-esteem is to spend time with them. Nothing tells a child they’re fun to be with more than being with them. Drop everything now and again and just be with your child. Show them they are worth your time and dedicated attention.
There are great tips on Parents.com to help you boost a child’s self-esteem.
Make Your Home a Positive Environment
If you want your child to think positively, then model positive thinking in your home. Model compassion. Model empathy and kindness. Including being kind to yourself. Model positive self-talk.
Remember that HSCs are sponges when it comes to emotions. If you tend to see the glass as half empty rather than as half full then they are prone to pick that up.
If you are feeling negative, or stressed, then turn your focus to emptying your own bucket before you try to help your child.
Decorate your home with artwork containing positive statements and mantras.
Hold a weekly family meeting and celebrate and praise each other.
*For your convenience, this post includes affiliate links to products and books I find useful for the HSK community. They cost you nothing more to buy, but I get a small commission.*