Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

4.17 - Self Talk

4.17 - Self Talk

The next video you will see is called, “Self Talk” and it describes a technique that your children can use to help themselves feel better, if they feel caught in the middle.


Zoe: Remember how Henry told us about talking to yourself? I’ve been trying that.

Jake: Yeah?

Zoe: Well, when you’re feeling upset or depressed, you can use your mind to help yourself. You can say things to yourself, silently. Things that help you. Let’s try it out. When was the last time you were really angry at your mom and dad?

Jake: That’s easy. While we were eating pasta, they told me they are separating but right now all they do is fight. Anyway, it was at dinner.

Zoe: Pasta’s your favourite, right?

Jake: Yup! With lots and lots of grated cheese on top.

Zoe: So you were feeling pretty good, having this nice dinner. Then what happened?

Jake: Then my grandma called. She told me she was going to come over and visit us. My mom wanted to see her, but my dad at the same time got two tickets to watch this football game, and he wanted to take me. But I guess he forgot to tell my mom, so my mom got really mad. They had this big fight. My dad said my mom was "controlling", and my mom said my dad was being very selfish. It went on and on. And the thing is, I want to see my grandma but I want to go to the game at the same time! But nobody’s asking me, of course. I hate it when they argue. The pasta wasn’t fun any more, that’s for sure.

Zoe: You must have felt pretty caught in the middle.

Jake: I just wanted to disappear from the earth. I just didn't want to listen to them argue again.

Zoe: The thing is, you can't stop them from arguing. But you can change how you think.

Jake: How?

Zoe: You can tell yourself: It's not my job to change how they act. They’re just being stupid. It’s not my fault, and it’s not my job to work this out. So you just think these things over and over in your head.

Jake: So you're saying I should mutter these things to myself?

Zoe: Well, you don't have to say it out loud, but you can if it helps! Saying these things helps yourself to switch channels and take your mind away from their argument. And maybe you can think about something that makes you happy.

Jake: Next time they fight, I'll switch channels, and I'll think about something that makes me happy.

Zoe: Exactly! The next time they argue just go in your room, shut the door, close your eyes, and switch channels.

Jake: I should have just done that last time my parents were arguing at dinner.

Zoe: Right. Think about things that make you happy.

Jake: I should have thought about how I scored the winning goal at hockey last week!

Zoe: You did? Sweet!

Jake: Thinking about hockey makes me happy.

Zoe: He shoots! He scores! Seriously, Jake, you can use your thoughts to help yourself feel better.