Updated: May 5, 2022
We can all remember those years that life seemed to be in a "holding pattern." Holding us between childhood and adulthood. As a teacher, I was often asked by my students if I would like to go back to that time. My answers was always, "No, Thank You!"
Too much uncertainty…. Not knowing the way and having the skills needed to navigate the world… Lots of tears… Lots of self-doubt……who would want to go back to that.
As a teacher and parent, I realized that what our kids need is to cultivate an attitude…. Not the negative destructive attitude… but the knowing of who they are and their why.
Look, life can be sometimes hard , as adults we all know this. Teaching our children these life skills is important.
Unfortunately, high schoolers often listen to their friends for life advice. Not the best-case scenario. The last thing your teenager needs is their Inner Critics, often their best friends, taking the wheel, getting on their case about every little thing they are trying to do.
Question....Why are they listening to someone who often has less skills than they do and often don’t have their best interest at heart?
This is the time for your high school child to learn how to challenge their Inner Critic and silence their voice once and for all.
Help your child learn and practice these tried-and-true strategies:
I. Start Noticing
Inner Critics/negative friends like to whisper and never to speak out loud. The last thing they want is to be noticed in their schemes. By children learning to pay attention to what’s going on in their head, they can often recognize and see the truth and throw out the negative input.
II. Give it a Nickname
Another great strategy which can relieve some of this anxiety, is whenever the Inner Critic/negative friend gives an unkind remark or idea, teach the child give it a silly name. Humor can help bring things into prospective. Thinking things like “Hey, it’s Moldyvort, back again to cause trouble.” By making fun of the harsh message, it’s a whole lot harder to take seriously.
III. What about a Voice?
All of us hear negative things, but our high school children often take these things to heart. They often have not developed a filter. By just saying the negative voice/thoughts out loud often allows the child to hear how ridiculous it sounds. Again, humor and laughter are a great balm to an injured soul.
As a parent we can often model this behavior. Having the high schooler examine the unkind message/negative speech by questioning, “Is there any truth to what is being said?" Help them examine the statements. Feel free to give feedback. Point out the flaws in the reasoning and back it up with examples of times when the “Negative Moldyvort” was proven that those things/words aren’t true.
V. Replace the Words
By dropping the negative words entirely and byrewriting the script, can often turn each negative into a positive. For example, saying, “I’m terrible at writing reports” can become “I did a great job on the last report I wrote. I bet this one will be fine too.” This is an important skill that parents can model for their child.
Silencing Negative Self-Talk/Inner Critic takes time and energy.
Once your high schooler masters these skills with your help, their world will change enormously in some pretty great ways. After all, without that negative self-talk/critic to hold them back, they are primed for success to climb that life mountain to a happy and fulfilling life.
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