How To Reverse Negative Thinking Patterns In Teen Boys
The trained therapists at Sundance Canyon Academy have helped countless teen boys overcome negative thinking patterns. We are writing on this topic today to help families learn to identify and reverse negative thinking patterns in their teen sons. If you are concerned that your son’s negative thinking patterns are becoming dangerous or overwhelming, contact us today. Many teens benefit from attending a therapeutic boarding school that focuses on helping them improve their thought patterns.
We all experience negative thoughts from time to time. Our brains are actually wired to help us remember negative events so that we can avoid them in the future. As children, when we do something that gets a negative reaction from others, we learn not to repeat that behavior. This is how we learn about social norms and figure out how to fit in with our social groups. While the occasional negative thought can be helpful and remind us of what not to do, consistent negative thinking patterns can be harmful and overwhelming.
Negative thinking patterns make us feel self-critical, anxious, and depressed. For some people, negative thoughts interject themselves into all aspects of life. For others, negative thoughts only occur when life becomes stressful or when things don’t go as planned. In each situation, it’s extremely important that children and teens learn how to reverse negative thinking patterns before they take hold.
Common negative thinking patterns
Negative thinking patterns make bad situations feel overwhelming and inescapable. Though they are often unrealistic and exaggerated, they feel completely real in the moment. Here are some negative thinking patterns that are common for teens:
Overgeneralizing Example: I didn’t make the team. I’m not athletic and I’ll probably never get picked to be on any team.
Ignoring Positive Qualities Example: Sure I make good grades, but that’s easy. Anyone could make good grades if they really wanted to.
Perfectionism Example: I need to make every free throw I take. If I miss one, then I’m clearly bad at basketball and might as well quit the team.
Self-defeating Example: I’m never going to pass the exam anyway, so why both studying?
Catastrophising Example: If I fail this test, then I’m never going to be able to make an A in this class. If I don’t make As, then I won’t get into college and I’ll never get a good job.
Overwhelming negative thoughts often contradict reality and make bad situations seem far worse than they actually are. This is especially true for teens with mental health problems. Negative thought patterns go hand-in-hand with depression and anxiety and can exacerbate both of those conditions. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome negative thinking patterns.
How to overcome negative thinking patterns
With some determination, teens can reverse negative thinking patterns and change both their outlook and behavior. Here are some ways to help your child overcome and reverse their negative thinking patterns:
Notice the negative thoughts
Remember that overwhelming negative thoughts feel completely real even when there’s no evidence to support them. Help your child separate the overwhelming feelings from reality. Once they start noticing negative thought patterns, they can decide to change them.
Challenge negative thoughts
Once they’ve noticed the negative thoughts, encourage them to challenge those thoughts with reality. Sure they might feel bad about playing badly in a game, but does that really mean that they’re horrible at sports? Have they played well in other games? Does their performance improve when they practice more? By contradicting the negative thoughts, they can focus on reality and break free of overwhelming negative feelings.
Decide to keep helpful thoughts
Negative thinking patterns aren’t helpful. When we focus on the negative, we feel worse about ourselves and ultimately perform worse than we otherwise would. Help your child acknowledge and focus on positive thoughts. By choosing to keep positive thoughts and reject negative thoughts, they will be happier and will ultimately see more positive results in life.
Reversing negative thinking patterns in teen boys can be very difficult. Don’t expect your child to change their view of themselves overnight. If your teen son is entrenched in negative thought patterns and is struggling to overcome them, consider seeking outside help. Contact us today to find out how our therapists can help your son reverse his negative thinking patterns.