Positive vs. Negative Thoughts
Guest Post by Kathleen Burns
I once took a class in auto-hypnosis and positive thinking (affirmations). The hypnotist began the session with these statements:
“Never say or think anything about yourself that you don’t want to be, because that’s how you will become.”
“Never, ever say anything to your children that you don’t want them to be, because they will become that way.”
“Never let your children hear you say anything about yourself that you don’t want them to become, because they will pattern themselves after you.”
According to a “National Science Foundation” article published in 2005 concerning research about human thoughts, the average person has between 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Can you imagine yourself harboring that many thoughts? It goes on to report that 80% of those thoughts are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. This is shocking! Why are the majority of people negative thinkers instead of positive?
People are born mentally neutral: neither good nor bad, happy or sad, kind or cruel, selfish or generous. These are not genetic traits; they are among the numerous other values and characteristics that are learned. Children model their thinking patterns and behavior from everyone in their earliest environment and closest relationships, and incorporate what they see and hear into their own lives. As parents, we have the major role of influence. If we are negative thinkers and have poor self-esteem, our children will be just like us, and their children will model their thinking patterns and behavior, and so on. This explains how we come to believe the way we do.
Many parents cause severe and irreparable damage to the mental development of their children when they use negative statements while disciplining and correcting them. Hearing insults and put-downs repeatedly while growing up will assuredly result in a lifetime of negative beliefs like, “I’m bad.” “I’m not good enough.” I’m not capable.” “I’m not lovable,” and may even lead to severe depression in later years. Children who are led to these negative beliefs about themselves seldom become confident, successful adults. Remember this statement, “You are what you believe yourself to be.”
Following are many statements parents make that lead to a child’s feelings of rejection and unworthiness:
You can’t do anything right.
You’re not a good reader.
You don’t listen.
Why can’t you be like your brother?
You’re a liar.
You don’t want to do anything, but watch TV.
You always disobey me.
I’m ashamed of you.
How many times do I have to tell you!
Ignorant parents are not the only culprits when it comes to verbally abusing their children; older children may also be offensive to their younger siblings, which in some cases may cause equal damage. Children can be very cruel, especially when they’re unchaperoned; often they will treat younger sisters and brothers unfairly and call them belittling and insulting names, such as dummy, fatty, stupid, ugly, and even physically hurt them.
Children who are raised with this abusive language and treatment will be more vulnerable in school; they’ll not only be unable to develop meaningful friendships, but they will easily think badly of themselves if they don’t get as good grades as their classmates, if they are not as popular, if they don’t dress as nicely, or are not as good at sports. They may even be bullies or participate in bullying other students. If using these abusive statements is part of your parenting style, even if you make them occasionally, you must stop and get counseling to learn of proper ways to raise your children.
Positive thinking is the most valuable gift parents can give their children, but if you are one of the 80% of people who are negative thinkers, how are you going to help your child develop into one of the 20% who are positive? You have to break the cycle that you are caught up in and change your negative behaviors that your child is probably already beginning to imitate.
-Kathleen Burns Author, Top Students/Top Parents, Founder of Head Start for Parents, Inc.
For more information on breaking the cycle of negative behaviors and how your child can become a Top Student, purchase Top Students Top Parents TODAY on Amazon or visit https://www.topstudentstopparents.com/.
Kathleen Burns is veteran educator with twenty years’ experience teaching over 1000 nine-and ten-year olds. She founded “Head Start for Parents,” a non-profit organization in 1992. She earned her teaching degree in Education and Behavioral Sciences from Southern Colorado State College. The years spent with her own three children, one of whom had severe medical and learning disabilities, combined with the close relationship she had with over 1000 students and their parents, has given her a unique perspective in dealing with the stress and problems parents encounter while trying to raise their children.
She was able to compare the educational potential between children from different home environments, and why some remain at the top of the class while others suffered from a learning deficiency, each of which are to be laid at the doorstep of their formative years.
Her many years of experience, combined with the studies made by the numerous child development experts mentioned in the bibliography, resulted in the same conclusion: that is, the type of students children become is determined by their home environment and the relationship they had with their parents.
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*Article and photos courtesy of Kathleen Burns