Book Club: Dr. Reivich’s Pick05/02/2013
Fight Back to Bounce Back – (Ages 3-5, 6+)
Positive Parenting by Dr. Karen Reivich
Why is it that when someone else unfairly accuses or criticizes us, we are ready to fight back, but when we accuse or criticize ourselves, we act as if it must be true? Why do we accept our own criticisms and accusations as fact?
Many of us, our children included, have sometimes been overly negative and harsh with ourselves. By barraging ourselves with criticism, we erode our confidence and our resilience. These internal accusations make us upset; we turn ourselves into an egg – one that breaks under pressure – rather than a ball that bounces back from difficult experiences.
Think about when you are your own worst enemy.
- What do you unfairly accuse yourself of? What situations, feelings, or concerns trigger your inner critic?
- What would be different for you if you stopped accusing yourself of that?
- What would your best friend or spouse say to your inner critic on your behalf?
You can help your children learn the skill Fight Back to Bounce Back so that they will stay resilient and positive in the face of challenges and stress.
1) Start by helping your child notice when they are mentally beating themselves up.
2) Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. Write whatever your child names his or her inner critic (e.g., Self-Bully Thoughts) at the top of the left-hand column and The Truth at the top of the right-hand column.
3) Ask your child to write down some of the things their inner critic yells at them.
4) Next to each thought, help your child craft a response that acknowledges the grain of truth in the accusation (if there is one) but doesn't let Self-Bully Thoughts exaggerate, twist, or distort.
Here is an example.
This class is way too hard for me. I'm going to bomb math this year!
This class is hard. I'm not the only one that thinks so. Math was hard last year too and I did okay. I can meet with the teacher if I need extra help, and Aunt Jen was a math teacher, so she can help me too.
Remember that this is a skill and takes practice—and it’s great one for all of us to learn!
Karen Reivich, Ph.D.
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