How do children form negative beliefs that carry over into adulthood?

negative beliefs

Children will often connect two events that are not really related and then form negative beliefs about themselves.

Because of what Piaget called Transductive Reasoning, your child may connect two events that have no logical connection, and may feel responsible for things she has no control over. For example, if she is drinking juice when Daddy comes home angry about traffic, she may think that drinking juice makes Daddy angry. When you discover these odd fears, ask, “Why do you not want to drink juice?” Then do your best to show (not tell) her that Daddy likes her to drink juice.

As she grows, negative experiences create a negative belief system, so if your child had a negative experience during the day, it is important to repair any negative beliefs she might have formed and replace them with positive ones. Help your child integrate her day so she goes to bed comforted.

In the middle childhood years, your child’s efforts to establish himself on the industry vs. inferiority scale may create some erroneous beliefs that can carry on through the rest of his life. One or two moments of rejection can be combined to the belief that, “Nobody likes me,” or “I am not worthy of love.” The middle childhood years are an important time to continue the message that you love your child, and he is worthy of love. Have discussions whenever you see your child upset. Ask what happened at school, with friends, or even with you that caused this feeling. Try to discover if your child is making a negative belief about himself like, “I’m stupid,” and counter that belief with your love and your belief in the opposite, and supply ample evidence to convince him. In addition, point out that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and there are many ways to be happy and successful in life.

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