Turn your child’s inner critic into a best friend

I have been trying to get back to work for a while now but things just keep happening, since the kids have gone back to school, I’ve got caught up clearing out the house, also getting my out of date driver licence renewed, yesterday my son was home sick with croup and now I have 3 unwell kids at home with me! So instead of stressing about how little work I’m doing, I’m writing this!

Inner Best Friend

I often tell children and teens when I’m coaching them to imagine that their inner critic – (that voice in our head that is always there, ready to have a go, put you down, stop you being happy) is like a little rascal of a devil…. and imagine on the other side there is a little angel/ super hero/ best friend in your head who is there to encourage you, and tell you to keep going you’re doing great. The idea of a having a best friend in your head appeals to older kids and the angel/ superhero usually appeals to the younger kids depending on the situation. Kids are brilliant, they sometimes create their own superheros and draw them for me, they tell me exactly what they will do and say to help – in those difficult situations. The truth is we all have difficult situations, and we all need to pick ourselves up at different times and to different degrees.

January can be a tough month, when the sparkle of Christmas and New Year are a distant memory, bank balances can be unhealthy (as can some of our children) the weather can be dark and cold… It’s good to remember that we can pick ourselves up and become our own best friend. January used to get  me down for all the above reasons, until I realized that I was making it so much worse. I was telling myself in my head ‘I hate January’. I now don’t really care about the month, I’ve neutralized it.

The Fall

My daughter and I, needed help with that inner voice yesterday, she fell and hurt herself quite badly, (her lip is cut and swollen and she’s cut all over her face,) she was on the way home from school, she was brought home by a very kind Mother who saw her falling (she was driving in her car and pulled over to help). After the phone call my first thought was – ‘Oh no she’s probably lost or broken a tooth’, we’re so good at thinking the worst aren’t we? However when she arrived, I still couldn’t tell, all I could see was blood and all I could hear was high pitched screaming. She is the drama queen of the family so I took the screaming with a pinch of salt, but I also knew it was bad if a stranger stopped to help!  She was walking the 10 minutes walk home from school on her own, (which is very rare but she’s done it a few times,) when she tripped on the footpath. My inner critic goes crazy – ‘I shouldn’t have let her walk home alone, I wasn’t there to help her, she’s too young/immature/clumsy I should have known this would happen’. But as her inner critic kicked in I had to change my tact. She was saying ‘Why did I have to fall?’ It’s not fair, I can’t go anywhere looking like this,  everyone will think I look stupid/ everyone will laugh at me’ (her lip is fairly huge!) I reassured her more than once, that it happens to everyone, we all have to go through a certain amount of accidents in our childhood (I counted my serious ones up for her which would make anyone feel better as there were quite a few). I also asked her to imagine if you weren’t allowed to do anything and you were kept safe all the time, being watched constantly or kept indoors, life would just be so boring – so it’s worth it! I also assured her that she would have been able to make it home by herself, even if she was in pain and upset, she would have done it if she had to. I tried to train her inner critic, and helped my own at the same time.

Gratitude

I also talked last night about how grateful we should be ‘GRATEFUL?’ she screamed at me ‘GRATEFUL THAT I FELL?’– Grateful that there are kind people in the world, willing to stop and help others (a boy in her class also tried to help her) and how grateful we were that she didn’t lose a tooth. (I added that it could cost €3500 to get a new fake tooth and would be a lot of work/pain in the dentists!) I reminded both my girls to always stop and check if someone is okay if they’ve hurt themselves.. even if you don’t know them. We also talked about the amazing healing power of our bodies.. and I told her ‘every day in every way, you’re getting better and better’ – to which she rolled her eyes at me (she’s 9 going on 16).

So overall we are getting through the drama. My son who was home sick with croup, was on a nebuliser in the Doctor that morning as he was struggling to breathe. He’s fine now. You can’t help but wonder if some days happen to test us.. to test our resolve, patience, ability to cope and stay calm.

Inner Struggle

So that inner struggle with our own chit-chat in our head, can really dictate how we see things, how our day goes and what our thoughts are last thing at night (when we’re programming our subconscious mind). We all have our demons – some are much worse than others. However we can teach our kids the tool of switching our thinking and picking themselves up. How to change from ‘I’ve no friends’ to ‘I’m a good friend’, or stressed exam students to switch from ‘I can’t do this/ I can’t cope’ to ‘I’ll do my best’. It sounds easier than it is, but it can be done through cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt). The secret is to catch your thoughts and be self aware. Do your best to be your own best friend in your head and explain the concept to your children so that they don’t need anyone but themselves to lift themselves up.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope it brings brings you new and positive challenges and adventures. If your children or anyone you know need some help to feel happier or more confident please get in touch below. Sign up underneath this post to keep in touch and get articles emailed to your inbox.

Caoimhe xx

Caoimhe O’Grady Tegart

Life Coach for Kids and Teens

The Confidence Clinic

Phone: (+353)833425364

Email: @theconfidenceclinic.ie

Website: https://theconfidenceclinic.ie/

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