Subscribe To The Personal Growth Newsletter
Get your daily dose of improving yourself for the better in your inbox everyday!

Negative Self-Talk That Reframes Kids’ Minds

Every parent’s goal is to do the very best they can for their children. From providing for their physical needs to letting them know that they are loved, the goal is always to put the child first. But many parents don’t realize that the negative self-talk that they are giving themselves is having a negative influence on the kids.

It doesn’t matter that the negativity isn’t directed at the kids. Here are some examples of self-talk that parents participate in that can completely reframe their children’s minds.


Every home has a mirror and most parents are guilty at one point or another of walking by and saying something negative. It could be as simple as commenting on the dark circles under your eyes. It could be the extra couple of pounds that are lingering at your waist. Whatever it is, kids are hearing this and starting to come up with an idea of what it means to be attractive. They may start to look in that same mirror and pick out their flaws instead of seeing their physical traits as attractive.

Instead, while it may not come naturally at first, consider making a positive comment when glancing in the mirror. Not only will it make you feel better, but it will let the kids know that it’s good to appreciate the way you look and love yourself. You may just hear them saying something great as they pass their own reflection in the hall.


How many times has a parent said that he or she can’t possibly do something? You can’t get something done on time. You can’t seem to get your life together. On the surface, these comments don’t mean much. Sometimes they might even be a reality. Your family can’t make it to the play date on Friday.

However, parents should be aware that constantly using the word, ‘can’t’ makes it appear that they are lacking when it comes to ability. It reframes the way a child sees the parent and gives them an out when they don’t want to do something. Kids will begin to make these same statements, much to the chagrin of parents that want them to clean their room or pick up their clothes. While there is a time and a place for the word, can’t consider keeping its use to a minimum, especially when it comes to things that can be done.

Mental Capacity

Sometimes parents say things carelessly without any idea about how this affects the kids. When something goes wrong or something is forgotten, parents often make it a point to mention that they can’t believe they were that stupid, forgetful or thoughtless. Unfortunately, instead of teaching kids that mistakes will be made and it’s okay to just get up and try again, it appears that a parent is lacking the mental capacity to handle the situation. How does this reframe a child’s mind?

When they can’t do something, they may automatically assume that they aren’t smart enough to complete the task. This isn’t how parents want their kids to see themselves. Kids that struggle with a subject in school, a sport or even a task at home shouldn’t associate those things with a lack of mental capacity. Instead, they should see that mistakes are made or sometimes things are difficult, but they should still be pursued.

Not Being Good Enough

Another thoughtless comment centers on not being good enough. It could be that a parent mentions that they aren’t good enough in the eyes of another person. It could be that they aren’t strong enough to handle a certain situation. Much like the idea of saying, ‘I can’t,’ this begins a cycle of insecurity for the parent that, in turn, affects a child. When you constantly tell a child how great he or she is and then confess that you aren’t good enough, it sends a confusing signal to a child, causing them to question themselves, as well as your sincerity.

In addition to preventing insecurity, transforming this type of self-talk can also help a child lessen the weight they put on other people’s opinions, especially when it comes to the child’s value.

It’s Too Late

No one wants to hit a certain place in life where they can’t try anything new or do anything different. While you may not be able to run a mile as quickly as you could a decade ago, you don’t need to say that it is too late to give that mile another try. Kids hear parents say that it is too late for them to follow certain dreams or pursue interests. This can lead kids to believe that once they become parents, they are no longer able to pursue their own interests and hobbies.

It isn’t intentional but this kind of self-talk can be damaging to a child’s mind and give them a false impression of what their future will look like. Parents want their kids to know they are capable of anything, at any point in life. They should never give up on the things they want to pursue.

No Value To Opinions

Every adult has had a moment when they feel as if an opinion doesn’t matter, whether it is in the midst of a serious argument or there is conflict with other parents at school. When a parent suggests that their opinion isn’t important enough to matter, kids begin to think about what this mean for a parent and themselves.

Negative-Self-Talk-That-Reframes-Kids’-Minds-pinParents should be aware that their opinions are valuable, even if no one else is paying attention to them. When kids see parents claim to have a valid opinion, even when it doesn’t match up with everyone else’s, they can see their own opinions and thoughts as valuable and worth speaking up about. At the same time, it might be a good idea to actually hear your child’s opinion on things. Even if it is an adult decision, consider allowing a child to share an opinion. It gives them practice explaining the way that they feel and they may feel heard.

The way parents see themselves affects their children. So in addition to avoiding negative self-talk for the benefit of the kids, parents need to avoid the negativity for themselves. Parents that feel more confident about the way they look, their abilities, and their value are going to be better parents.

They are going to create an environment where kids want to emulate the parent. This means that they grow up with a similar type of self-worth. No matter how many times you tell the kids that they are great, the best way to show them is to see the greatness in yourself.

The next time negative self-talk is on the tip of your tongue, consider reframing the comment and then say it out loud. You might be surprised to see a real change in your child as well as yourself.

Table Of Contents

Katherine Hurst
By Mary Williams
As a child development expert and behavior specialist, I understand how challenging those early years can be. I am to provide parents with the confidence and skills they need to negotiate the parenting pathway and the challenges it presents with ease. In addition to my consultation work, I have also founded and directed school programs and also have years of experience in pregnancy and supporting parents with multiple births.

Join the Conversation

Personal Growth logo
Daily personal growth affirmations, words of wisdom and articles sent straight to your inbox every day...
© 2012-2023 | Greater Minds Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Personal Growth is for informational purpose only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content and images found on may not be reproduced or distributed, unless permitted in writing by Greater Minds Ltd.