Picture this situation: Your child is at school in the lunchroom. Someone he or she knows walks past your child and doesn’t say hello. Your child thinks, “He always ignores me” or “She doesn’t like me”.
How does this thought make him feel? Let’s suppose these thoughts make your child feel angry. What will your child do with his or her angry feelings? Maybe the next time, he will ignore the person or perhaps when he comes home, he will slam the door and stay in his room all night. This is just one example of an ordinary daily situation that can occur.
Iffy Thoughts Game Cards
Now, take a moment to reflect on a recent situation that occurred in your child’s life and how the thoughts it created affected your child and you as well.
After a moment, think about how you handled the situation. You may have:
Did any of these strategies work for you? If not, read on.
It is my intention to suggest another way to deal with this problem. The answer is for you and your child to understand, learn, practice and apply cognitive behavioral principles (CB) to everyday situations.
Before learning the cognitive behavioral principles, I would like to give you some important points to keep in mind. First of all, realize that it is difficult for your child to think, feel and behave differently when everyone around him remains the same. To this end, it is equally, if not more important for those involved with the child to reinforce the program as often as possible.
One way of achieving this, beyond the use of the program is to use the set of playing cards along with game instructions provided on my website (www.onsecond-thought.com).
A basic understanding of CB principles as presented in this program will help you when working with your child. First and foremost, cognitive behavioral therapy suggests that thoughts, feelings and behaviors are connected. For example, you believe you got the worst grade in the class which may lend itself to you feeling sad, this in turn may result in you putting your head down on the desk. This is an example of a cognitive distortion (the thought in this scenario) which may cause a person distress.
Dr. David Burns, a researcher in CBT pinpointed the notion of cognitive distortions, also know as unhelpful thoughts. Dr. Burn’s list is insightful and sophisticated, yet it was intended for an adult audience. In order to deliver the essence of the cognitive distortions in a kid friendly way our goal was to find idioms that most closely matched each distortion. We call our list Busto & Busto’s Iffy Thoughts.
Below you will find Busto & Busto’s Iffy Thoughts in blue, followed by Dr. Burns’ original cognitive distortions.
On Second Thought: From Iffy to Witty Thoughts is a skill building program intended for all children grades 3-6. Since some children have more difficulty letting go of their unhelpful thoughts, those may find it helpful to consult with a therapist who would be able to provide you and your child with additional support and guidance.
Children really are just a thought away from changing their day!
Witty Thoughts Game Cards
Learning how to challenge these cognitive distortions (also referred to as unhelpful thoughts) can result in an improved mood and a more objective outlook. Requiring further research, we discovered a list of idioms that most closely challenge Iffy Thoughts.
We call these Witty Thoughts (also referred to as helpful thoughts).
Below is a list of Iffy Thoughts as previously indicated, followed by a Witty Thought that best challenges each one. Note: there is more than one Witty Thought that challenges an Iffy Thought.