Barb's Blog


Bad Moods, Complaining, Negativity: How to Help Her Shift

I’ve had so many parents over the years talk to me about their daughter who tends to be negative or sees the glass as half empty. She complains a lot or has a hard time getting out of a bad mood. This is so common. I was recently talking to a coaching parent client, and I told her about a tool that I use with many of my teen life coaching clients. She really liked the idea, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Let’s say that your daughter is stuck – stuck in a negative place and feeling pretty crappy. Teach her about her thoughts. Thoughts are powerful. Our thoughts lead to feelings. Think about it…if I think I suck at algebra, how do I feel? If I think, I have no friends, how do I feel? If I think I am too fat or too skinny, how do I feel? Answer: not good at all.

Our thoughts lead to our feelings. So, ask your girls to check in with themselves when they are feeling badly. Encourage them to ask themselves, “Hmmm, what am I thinking that caused me to feel sad/mad/lonely/upset?”.

What is the tool to give your daughter? Finding a Better Feeling Thought

What is a better feeling thought? That is any thought that causes you to feel better. It can be about the issue that caused you to feel poorly or about something totally off topic.
Here’s how it works – an example of an internal conversation:

How to Feel Better

  • I notice that I feel sad, mad and lonely.
  • I ask myself: What am I thinking about?
  • I was comparing myself to other girls. I was wishing I had more friends or at least one or two close friends.
  • I think: Well, that thought isn’t helping me. It’s causing me to feel bad. I don’t want to feel bad. I’m going to think a better feeling thought.
  • Examples of better feeling thoughts:
    • Well, I’m glad I have Ella in my math class. She always talks to me.
    • Or, I’m so excited to see Taylor Swift in concert this weekend with my mom and aunt.
    • Or, I can’t wait for the new season of “Stranger Things” to come out soon.
    • Or, I’m going to go home and paint my nails today.
    • Or, I love baking. I’m going to bake cupcakes this weekend.

She has just replaced the thought that caused her to feel badly with a better feeling thought. Now, she has changed how she feels only by changing her thoughts. This takes practice, of course. Paying attention to your thoughts is a muscle that needs to be used regularly. You and your girls can help each other out by asking each other “what are you thinking?” any time one of you is in a slump.

This tool is super empowering. We have the ability to change how we feel!


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