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How is your child internalizing your negative self-talk? 


Stop Your Negative Self Talk

As a young child, my mother demanded that I be strong and not let “them” see me cry! Now, reflecting on those moments, I am 100% certain that my determination to be strong and ultimately the strength I exhibit in life is due to my mother. I am just as certain that it is because of that mantra instilled in me by my mother, that very few people have ever seen me cry.

Although my mother’s words encouraged me to be strong, I also became emotionally reserved, maybe even emotionally detached.

I’m sure that was not her intent. She wanted to protect her precious little girl. But haven’t we all as parents, said things that may be interpreted differently (or worse case, literally) by our children which may have lasting effects.

As parents, we do our best to present our children with many different life lessons. Lessons that we hope will teach them among other things, to be critical thinkers, to care for our family and our community, to be self-aware and to recognize danger. But what lessons are they getting simply by observing us and listening to the things we say, when we are not talking to them?

These messages whether verbal or non-verbal, either explicit or implicit, often become the fabric of our children’s being.

We all know that negative words spoken directly to our children often leave permanent scars. I’d like us to consider the messages we communicate to our children with our negative self-talk and the impact it may have on them!

Stop! Your Negative Self Talk

Here are a few examples:

  • “I’m not eating tonight. I need to go on a diet to fit into that bridesmaid’s dress.”

    • Child’s Interpretation: Eating is optional. Not eating and/or dieting is a path to the ideal body.


  • “I’m no good at math, go ask your Dad for help!”

    • Child’s Interpretation: Mom accepts that she’s not good at math, so when I feel like I’m not good at “something” I don’t have to try.


  • “UGH, I ruined dinner…I am a terrible cook!”

    • Child’s Interpretation: It’s not ok to make a mistake.


  • “I locked my keys in the car! Ugh, I am such a screw-up.”

    • Child’s Interpretation: It’s not ok to make a mistake.


  • “I like the way I feel after a glass of wine.”

    • Child’s Interpretation: Alcohol makes one feel good.


  • “Don’t ever get married; there are no good men out there!”

    • Child’s Interpretation: All men are bad! Nothing good can come of marriage!


  • Someone gives you a compliment and you brush it off and say, “He was just being kind. He didn’t mean it.”

    • Child’s Interpretation: You can’t believe people when they give you a compliment.


  • “I’m my best self when I have my full face of makeup on!”

    • Child’s Interpretation: Looking your best equals full makeup. One cannot be their best self without a full face of makeup.

 Stop! Your Negative Self Talk


Making comments like these once or twice in your child’s presence is not likely to cause harm.

It’s the repetition of these words… that’s what they will remember.

We as parents must be deliberate in our attempts to model positive self-talk, for our wellbeing and for our children.

So, don’t worry aloud about your weight or talk negatively about yourself when you make a mistake. If you ruin dinner or lock your keys in the car, don’t be so hard on yourself.

Mistakes happen…acknowledge that and model behavior that accepts it as a part of life. But also, demonstrate the resilience to move past the mistake.

And when someone gives you a compliment, don’t brush it off…just say “Thank you!”

Give yourself A. LOT. Of. Grace.….as you would give your child if you heard her spewing negative self-talk around the house.

Let’s raise happy healthy positive self-talking children together!!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Children take cues from their parents. I try not to talk negatively about myself outright, but it’s easy to do if you’re not careful.

  2. This is nice information!
    I never realised this until I was reading this post
    It’s always easier to blame ourselves before we are actually blamed by somebody else. I guess that’s where the negative talk mostly comes from
    Thanks for sharing this

  3. Wow I need to do better! I’m a new mom to a 10 month old and the stuff I say to myself sometimes I confess I have to do better Thank for these wonderful examples

  4. Great Points and things to take into consideration when I am around my children…or in general! It’s so hard to break negative thoughts and thinking, its a daily battle.

  5. Great post so many takeaways I can take from this. Negativity self talk can affect us in so many different ways.

  6. This is such an important article and such good reminders. I’m trying to implement more positive talk/behavior with my two year old because I catch myself saying things to him that I know I could say better/differently.

  7. I have to admit, I have a lot of work to do in this department. My daughter is constantly correcting my negative talk which is good but also means she is definitely internalizing what I am saying. I would hate to change her positive outlook based on my words.

  8. OMG i love the way you’ve broken down a childs interpretation of their parents talk. I’m studying negative self talk nd its birth place and it definetly begins during those early ages.

  9. I’ve seen so many people affected by negative talk from themselves, relationships and family. These conformations can cause us to change our own on mindset without even thinking about it.

  10. Yikes! I know this to be true and haven’t thought that I display any negative self talk but some of the examples made me think. I do say some things that can be interpreted differently by my children. This article will make me more cognizant of that.

  11. I’m not yet married or a parent but, yes, negative talk around children is something more adults (not just the parents) should be aware of! I’ve got little cousins (as young as 2, 3 years old) and they absorb things like sponges!! Even the things parents don’t think they would catch onto or eventually grow to repeat. Such a crucial topic for parents and people that work with children.

  12. This is great advice. I think it’s hard sometimes to remember that our negative self-talk can also influence the people around us, particularly if they are impressionable children. I’ll have to remember this advice if I ever have kids of my own.

  13. I love this post! So honest and so true. I heard a lot of negativity and negative self talk ruled me for so long. Lately I am only speaking positive affirmations to myself and have to redirect my negative self talk to positive words every day!

  14. It’s good to pay attention to how we speak in front of children. It’s also very difficult to be perfect. But love covers a multitude of sins.

  15. Negativity is something I’m trying so hard to stop. As much as I know that being positive in most cases promotes good health but certain events make it hard to be positive. You’ve written a good post here and I will remember them when I have my own kids. Good one

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