Teaching Children How to Feel Good About Self

In a recent article I wrote at Chidswork.com — about teaching children how to feel good — I eluded to a game session that we had in my office.

I introduced a game called The Self-Esteem Game (developed by Michael R Sheehan, PhD) in a family session at my office, and the results were very positive.

Getting families to feel good about themselves begins with celebrating their good qualities so that positive self-esteem can take root.

I have clients of all ages that tend to feel badly about themselves. Social conflict and poor decision-making that can stem from impulsivity, irritability, and procrastination, can often get people in trouble, at work, at play, or in the home. And messages from the media — and others at home and work — can at times present the illusion that they simply aren’t good enough.

When a sense of hopelessness sets in, it can emerge as a habit-forming negative self-talk. In turn, behaviors deteriorate. The person’s daily internal thoughts to themselves can become emotionally — toward self — and lead to a self-hatred, which in turn feeds to a cycle of problematic social interactions and isolation.

In such instances, life can become heavy, lonely and dull.

Working through — and changing — the negative self-talk can begin with simple true statements: “I do some good things for people,” “I am a good friend (brother, sister, cousin, son, mother, father etc.),” or “they acknowledged me at work for good performance yesterday (last week, last year).” These true statements can assist in helping one begin to feel better, incrementally.

In the game I mentioned earlier, participants dance and sing: “I feel good about me! I feel good about me!” Then at times I’d dd my own lines, or the clients would add theirs, like “And I…..feel good…about you…too!”

Negative thoughts can take root and become so ingrained and convincing that someone sincerely trying to change internal dialogue might just want to try Sheehan’s suggestion.

Try it when no one is around! Sing and dance it like you mean it!

During the session the entire group let go of their initial inhibitions and before long we were all singing, sometimes off key, but with intent and belief. We danced without restraint as we chanting this self worth.  And it made my own heart sing when I saw the family leaving down the hallway still singing with joy in their voices.

So make up your own tune and belt it out as you dance down the hallway at home: “I feel good about me! I feel good about me! I feel good about me!”

And remember that people who are depressed can feel better! If you speak to yourself in mean ways, please consider talking to your doctor and going to therapy so that you may experience more joy in your life.

you can read the full article on the Child’s Work blog HERE