Andrea Loewen Nair: Connect-Four Parenting


Core Beliefs And Self-Talk: Be The Parent You Want To Be

Have you ever felt so frustrated with your kids that you want to scream?

Have you ever felt so frustrated with your kids that you want to scream?

Do you sometimes flip into a rage so fast you can’t catch yourself before doing something that hurts your kids?

That intense feeling that surges through us, hijacking our thoughts and commandeering our emotions and behaviour is likely caused by the triggering of a negative core belief.

What we tell ourselves, both in happy and challenging times, is a product of our experiences and how those experiences were understood at the time they occurred. When something happens in life, a person interprets that event and tucks it away into categories of beliefs.

These beliefs, called core beliefs, are based on deep-seated thoughts we have about who we are, how people see us, how the world is, and what our future holds.

Our core beliefs create part of the lens through which we see and experience life—and how we parent. They can tell us to get angry when a child is in the throes of a tantrum or to stay calm and support the child. The affect how we interpret a situation—if we see the world with a glass half-empty or half-full.

Core beliefs are messages (that we may or may not be aware of), which we come to believe as a result of our life experiences, innate disposition and/or cultural influences.

When we go through something as a child, on a subconscious level, we generate impressions of the world based on what has happened and how people treated us in that event.

For example, a child who is raised by a father who continually explodes, shouts, and hits when he is angry might interpret this a few ways. Perhaps that child will become afraid of anyone having anger, including herself, or maybe she will start to believe that his anger is “her fault” (which is likely to happen if the dad says, “YOU make me so mad.”)

Children don’t have the ability to understand that an adult isn’t controlling himself or making bad choices, they see it as something they have caused.

The generalizations that might get made in the subconscious of that child will lead to behaviours that support the beliefs. Maybe this girl with the aggressive dad will start watching her actions to avoid something that might set her dad off (and thereby not be herself). For this situation, the core belief messages that might grow are: Getting angry is bad. I’m a bad person for making him mad. I’m a bad girl.

Core beliefs can happen in both a positive or negative light. Positive core beliefs generally help us to succeed and feel the world is our oyster. Negative core beliefs generally hold us back from our highest potential.

Negative (and positive) beliefs are the foundation for self-talk. Those are the messages that sneak into our minds, which shout something like, I don’t have time for this crap! or Not again—I’m so sick of this. And even, My son is an absolute asshole.

Our positive self-talk can soothe us with, Your child is overwhelmed. See his pain. Help him, and This is hard—and you can do it.

Core beliefs also drive behaviour (which we may, or may not feel in control of) and send out floods of feelings.

In the getting angry is bad example, a child who grows that belief will act on it—staying quiet, cowering or the opposite, blowing up because that is what her dad is inadvertently teaching her to do when angry.

This negative core belief will continue to exist until it is found and challenged. An adult who still carries that belief from childhood might experience it in a few ways. Perhaps that person will run away from conflict, not speak up when she needs to, or even marry a violent person.

Knowing about positive and negative core beliefs is critical for parents. When a parent understands how negative ones develop, she can stop herself from saying or doing the things that grow them (well, to the best of our ability—some will still get through but they likely won’t be debilitating ones.) Parents can understand their own triggers AND help guide their children, inspire cooperation and create strong-minded kids.

Often when parents understand how to stop growing negative core beliefs in their kids, tantrums stop, too!

Please go easy on yourself. If you have been treating your child harshly or getting frustrated with your lack of patience, there are ways to change this! It is not too late to learn and change things around.

Core belief information better equips parents to grow secure attachment and resiliency. It also reduces a person’s frustration!

Here is one thing to do to prevent growing negative beliefs in your child: 

This is an introduction to a really BIG topic. I will continue to talk about core beliefs and self-talk in my writing. If you’d like more information, I am actually conducting live, online small group workshops next week (I am hosting the same workshop at three different times). I am going to explain this concept more and help parents find and shift negative beliefs they may have.

Here are the links to the workshop information. There is a maximum registration of 20 people per session so I can answer your personal questions. Make sure you click the “Find tickets” button to register ($10 US, 45 minutes).

Monday, June 2 at 11am EST

Tuesday, June 3 at 4pm EST

Tuesday, June 3 at 9pm EST

Also, I will continue to provide free information on this topic and more over on my Facebook page.

If you liked this, you might also like: "How To Be An Empathetic Parent Even When It Feels Hard," and "Parenting: The Sink Or Swim Scenario."