How to Help Your Child with Negative Self Talk, with Dr. Marc Brackett

It's very sad when our bright and quirky kids develop negative self talk, thinking they're bad, broken, dumb, or a failure. Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, shares a very important and powerful conversation you can have with your child to shift their self talk to be more positive and healing. This conversation can be helpful whether the challenges your child is facing are social, emotional, academic or behavioral. Take a listen. . .



Now we'd love to hear from you. What's bubbling up for you after hearing this vlog? Let us know in the comments section below!



  1. June Fennelly Pacheco on April 22, 2020 at 11:25 am

    It is important to give specific statements to practice in specific scenarios. Children can no guess at what to say or do. They need support on how to respond and how to use self talk.

  2. Katherine Peterson, Human Potential Coach, SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator on April 22, 2020 at 11:33 am

    As an older parent of two bright & quirky young adults I applaud this vlog! Yes! We deeply need to look at ourselves and model the kind of self talk and behavior we want our dear children to emulate. Use honest, positive talk with your bright & quirky child. They in turn will begin to have positive self talk. Once that happens they learn to differentiate the opinions that are not in service of their greater good. “So who cares that Billy thinks I’m weird? I’m me, and that’s what’s important, not that idea!” Then the child understands, ” I’m not flawed that comment or idea is flawed.” When you’re quirky and bright the best thing you can do is to own it in a positive and absolutely uplighting way. Lastly, I think this works just as well for adults. Nice conversation here, well worth the 8 minutes! Thank you!

    • Lauren Hutchinson on April 23, 2020 at 10:21 pm

      Glad you found the video helpful! I love when Marc said we are not trying to create a false reality for them when we do this, but rather have them step outside of a single interpretation and consider other options that may be more helpful.
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

  3. June Fennelly Pacheco on April 22, 2020 at 11:33 am

    I disagree. Often times the child needs to be supported in the way he/she is interacting with others. If you behave like this>>>>>> people will react like this>>>>>>
    How does that look from another perspective….Often times children do not know the strategies to come out of their own world and see the world of others.
    Visualization is a huge strategy that starts a conversation, but if you can not visualize, how does one understand the world of another? Strategies are critical for social and emotional connection.

  4. Gabriella Luvera' on April 22, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    My son likes to be alone. He has very few friends. Probably it’s supposed to be that why, it’s not a kid with social problems, as they labeled him after a few hours of observation at Pisa children Hospital?
    He is very sensitive and shy; he now is 10 years old, but he has been bullied when he was 7 and even mistreated by teachers who knew nothing about 2e kids.
    Now that we have been allowed to apply a form of homeschooling due to the lockdown, he is thriving and interacts a lot with his classmates during the videolessons.

    • Lauren Hutchinson on April 23, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      This is wonderful to hear, Gabriella!
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

  5. Pat Dragovic on April 22, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    I concur with June and want to add a note.

    What is most effective and the priority for my child, is to support him in the way he is interacting with others, that is to start where he’s at and help him communicate his message. As long as appropriate, and effective, it doesn’t have to follow the standard format and most likely be different since he’s differently wired.

    It’s also very important to explain the norms and what’s happening so he can recognize what’s going on.

  6. Cindi on April 22, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Hello, this provides a good start but I was hoping to read/hear a list of specific statements of positive self talk examples. Thank you. Cindi A.

    • Lauren Hutchinson on April 23, 2020 at 10:37 pm

      Hi Cindi,
      You might find this article helpful. One of our previous Summit experts, Dr. Laura Markham, shares ideas about how to coach our kids through negative self-talk. It’s less about having a bank of statements, and more about helping our kids flip the script to a positive and realistic reframe in their own words. There are lots of good examples here!
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

      • Jen T on May 8, 2020 at 12:43 am

        Thank you for the link to the article by Dr. Laura Markham. My daughter spent around 30 mins on the floor crying and repeating, “I’m terrible” over frustration with her homework. She is a perfectionist and can not stand to be corrected or to get something wrong. A little different than hearing negative things from peers, but none the less damaging to her self esteem.

  7. Christie on April 22, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    I try the positive self talk with my daughter, and she tells me that it doesn’t work. I think maybe we just haven’t spent enough time doing it. I think we are going to find more time to practice this. I also, as a parent, would like to hear ways that I can give her helpful suggestions (or remind her of expectations) without her turning that into fuel for her negative self talk. (We are working on a growth mindset, too.)

    • Lauren Hutchinson on April 23, 2020 at 10:56 pm

      Christie, I try to communicate that I “assume competence” with my tone and use phrases like, “I know you probably know this…” or “This has probably already crossed your mind…”. Instead of giving advice freely, I’ve also learned to ask, “I have some ideas, would you like to hear them?” before jumping in and problem solving for my teen. And sometimes I read the moment and stay quiet, choosing my battles. I totally hear you on sometimes even the perfect words don’t land well!
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

  8. Bonnie on April 22, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    I agree children mirror our positive vibes but when they are with their peers, they do not always have the same support system that parents provide.
    I believe our children are more vulnerable to the feedback or comments they receive from peers and have a harder time coming through the emotional impact even though we provide positive feedback to them. Peers are their world and although we can see ahead and know they will get through their struggles, our 2E children are living in the very present and the current reality they are in may at times seem like it will not pass. I totally believe the early academic experience a child has with peers and teachers can make or break their soul regardless of how positive parents are. The educational system is lacking the perception of what the 2E children need on both an emotional and academic level. It is always a struggle to get what you need out of the education system and the special education kids are last in line. My son is now 16 years old and if I had the knowledge back when we placed him in a private school when he was 4 years old he would have been home schooled. We have spent more time and energy trying to build him up from the negative impact the system has had on him. We always remind our son their are other options to succeed in life besides what you are given in a teacher’s daily lesson plan.

    • Lauren Hutchinson on April 23, 2020 at 10:48 pm

      Bonnie, I agree with the impact of criticism or harsh feedback on our bright and sensitive kids. I’m so sorry this happened to your boy. Kudos to you for helping your son see life beyond the daily lesson plan. It’s so important that how our kids do in school – whether it’s at home or at a brick-and-mortar school – is decoupled from their basic sense of self-worth!
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

    • Ashley on May 31, 2020 at 4:49 am

      I’m just now reading your comment, and it comes at a much needed time. We have homeschooled our kids from the beginning (our oldest went to two day preschool and this was all) and I’m often questioning is this has been the right course for him. He is bright and quirky and has no friends right now despite many ongoing social engagements.

      I often feel like it’s my fault and I’m so insecure with him being bright and quirky and that I’m often down in him and trying to help him, because he’s sooooo difficult.

      I’m not a horrible parent, I just hope I’m doing him more good than harm, because I try and try and try to be a good parent for him.

  9. Minette on April 23, 2020 at 2:38 am

    Now that everyone is at home, we have a family meeting everyday at 11:30 am so that each of us (parents and the one teen at home, and often even the YA that lives abroad) about our wins from the previous day, what we’re excited about, and what projects we are working on. We sort of used as a model the Panda Planner, and it’s working really well.