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Negative Self talk

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Casual scribe

Negative Self talk

Hi, my 13 year old does lots of negative self talk, she thinks she ugly and doesn't deserve friends etc.


its been suggested that she try and say/write 3 postive things down every day - she will not do it.


any ideas as to how to change her way of thinking and getting her to engage?





Star contributor

Re: Negative Self talk

Hey @Bnee28 


Aw, that sounds really tough. It must be hard to hear her saying those things about herself. It's tricky if she doesn't want to take the steps to help herself. I guess one way to approach it would to be to ask why she doesn't want to do it. Once you know why, then you'll know how to approach the situation going forward. For example, it is possible that she doesn't want to do it because she think it is silly and won't help her. If that's the case, then you can educate her on the interplay between one's thoughts, feelings and emotions, and how choosing to focus on the good can make one happier. It might even be a good idea to show her a YouTube video explaining this in lay terms. 


One way to motivate others to make changes is by using motivational interviewing techniques. I'd encourage you to do some reading about it and try and apply such techniques with your daughter. It can be tricky to do though as it takes practice, but nevertheless it's worth reading about. I'm wondering if your daughter is seeking professional support at the moment, because in that case, then motivational interviewing is something that the counselor/practitioner can do to try to engage and motivate your daughter.

Active scribe

Re: Negative Self talk

I was plagued with negative self-talk for years and years. It came about because I was not the person who I wanted to be, and I had all these beliefs about myself that I simply couldn't get over. My main problem was that I could not finish what I started. Or at least that's what I thought it was. In fact, I would start a project that I didn't particularly enjoy, but that I wanted to be able to do, then I'd get angry when I was hitting roadblocks, and quit, then get angry at myself for quitting, repeat. I built up this huge complex of absolute conviction that I was not capable of anything, would give up on everything... it was compounded by a childhood ADD diagnosis...


ANYWAY, I see my daughter lapsing into the same negative thinking habits. The self-deprecation... I'm not sure what to say, except my approach has been to expect her to turn her mood around, and to just keep after her. She doesn't like saying positive things either. Just tonight she refused to say "I'm fine" when she was a little uneasy at bedtime (she said it, but used finger quottation marks). What I think is helping her though is that I am now not a negative thinker. I mashed that habit (it was harder for me to break than drugs and booze) and now I can model positive thinking, and its result, and if I continue to tell her to reframe her thinking, if I continue to gently urge her to choose a happier mood, to remind her that happiness can be chosen (when you're not in fact drowning in legitimate hurt... but sometimes even then), then she will one day be able to make the choice for herself to think more positively. In fact, she does have moments where she tries it out, and thank goodness she sees the effect.


One thing we do in my family now is we go around the table and say what we are grateful for - one thing. But explain it at some length, why are we grateful for it... and my daughter always comes up with something. My step-daughter spurns the dinner table gratitude, but occasionally contributes something that isn't a joke... I'm not as worried about her. 


May your daughter find her bliss. And you'll probably have to try a diversity of strategies. 


Best of luck,