By: Rachel Fowler, MS, LPC Children find it hard to understand their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, and many children struggle with negative thinking patterns and thinking errors. Especially when their views are harmful, those negative thinking patterns are called cognitive distortions or thinking errors. We call them thinking errors when working with children about negative […]
By: Rachel Fowler, MS, LPC
Children find it hard to understand their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, and many children struggle with negative thinking patterns and thinking errors. Especially when their views are harmful, those negative thinking patterns are called cognitive distortions or thinking errors. We call them thinking errors when working with children about negative thinking patterns. Over time, thinking errors are thoughts that reinforce negative feelings and unwanted behaviors. Children need time to learn, recognize and challenge thinking errors to improve their mental health and well-being.
Helping children identify how harmful negative thoughts can be. When working with children, one of my favorite statements is letting them know that our brain is not always our friend. Our thoughts can get stuck in a negative cycle, causing our feelings and behaviors to join. One way to help break the negative cycle is by disrupting the connection.
What are some Common Thinking Errors in Children?
Feelings as Facts:
All of our feelings are valid, but this does not mean they are facts. A negative feeling will cause or strengthen a negative thought. For example, a child can feel like a bad friend, but that does not make them a bad friend. Another example is if a child gets in trouble at home, they could feel upset but tell themselves they are a “bad daughter” or “bad son”. In both of these scenarios, the child reinforces negative feelings with a negative thought.
The average person does not have the magical power of reading minds. That does not stop individuals, especially children, from assuming what someone else is thinking. For example, students might not ask to borrow a pencil because they believe the teacher will get mad at them. A second example is a child will lie because they assume the parent will yell at them if they know the truth. In both scenarios, the child feels like they know what the other person will do or say. Therefore, causing the child to have harmful or unwanted behavior.
Children associate their actions with who they are. For example: If a child makes a mistake, they will tell themselves, “I am dumb” or “I am useless.” Another example is if the child misses a goal during a game, they would tell themselves, “I am horrible” or “I am worthless.” In both of these scenarios, the child reinforces a negative outlook on themselves.
Why is it Important to Identify Thinking Errors in Children?
Psychoeducation for Thinking Errors in Children:
Counseling for children can support and enhance the child’s ability to recognize and challenge these negative thinking patterns at a young age. Through counseling, a child can begin to understand the amount of power their thoughts have over their behaviors and feelings. Education and positive change can improve the child’s mental health and overall well-being.
Begin Therapy or support for Mental Health in Katy, TX
Have you noticed your child struggling with negative thinking patterns or thinking errors? If you feel like your child could benefit from counseling and change their negative thinking pattern, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide mental health counseling, as well as other mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX, follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about our services.
- Meet with one of our compassionate therapists.
- Find ways to help your child manage and challenge their thinking errors.
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!