fbpx

Negative Thinking

There are a range of different negative thinking mistakes that we regularly make and these can lead to automatic thoughts. An automatic thought is one that pops into your head without thinking on a regular basis.

Negative Thinking Mistakes

There are a range of different negative thinking mistakes that we regularly make and these can lead to automatic thoughts. An automatic thought is one that pops into your head without thinking on a regular basis. For example, “I’m rubbish”, or, “I always get it wrong”.

If you can help your child to identify what their thinking mistakes are it will help you and your child to spot the triggers that lead to negative self-talk.

These are some of the more common negative thinking mistakes:

All Or Nothing

You see things in extreme or in black and white, for example, “If I don’t get this perfect, then I’m a failure”

Over-Generalisation

One negative thing happens and this is seen as proof that other negative things will happen, e.g. “Jim hit me and said he didn’t like me… no-one will like me”

Labelling and Mislabelling

This is an extreme form of generalising, with the child labelling themselves as “A loser” or labelling others, “He’s rubbish”

Mental Filter

Focusing on one negative details and then seeing the whole experience as negative and dwelling on it. Refusing to notice any positives or anything that went well

Disqualifying The Positive

Rejecting positive experiences by insisting they ‘don’t count’

Jumping To Conclusions

Expecting things to go wrong even when there’s no evidence for this

Mind Reader

Assuming other children don’t like them or are saying negative things about them without really knowing

Fortune Telling

Anticipating things will go badly or wrong, predicting things will turn out bad

Catastrophising

Making the problems and difficulties bigger than they are, exaggerating the negative things and shrinking the positives

Believing All Feelings Are True

Just because you feel a feeling doesn’t mean its true, e.g. “I feel like I’ll be rubbish at this… therefore I am a failure”

Shoulds And Musts

Setting standards that are too high to be reached

Taking Things Personally

Seeing themselves as the cause of things that go wrong even if its nothing to do with them

Things To Do

The first thing is to learn to recognise your own thinking errors. Be kind to yourself. We all have them.

Once you have started to do this, you can help your child by modelling how you deal with these errors. Demonstrate to them how you recognise them and then challenge yourself in a positive and compassionate way.

For example:

“Hang on there, I was being very negative there and catastrophising. Maybe things aren’t so bad. After all, look at these positive things”

That way, your child will learn that it’s normal to experience these errors, and see there are ways to stop them.

You could also use our Negative Thinking Cards (coming very soon) to help your child identify their negative thinking mistakes.