Self-esteem is a person’s sense of self-worth and is manifested in large part by a person’s self-talk. One of the advantages researchers report about positive self-talk is that it encourages persistence—a key characteristic for success.
Negative self-talk creates a negative mindset that can lead to avoiding failure rather than reaching for success.
The more young people are encouraged and are talked to in positive ways the greater chances are for their own self-talk to be positive, which will greatly reduce discipline issues. As a teacher or parent, you have a tremendous opportunity to promote positive self-talk in young people. If you’re dealing with a child who is at-risk and needing frequent discipline, realize that these youth focus more on the negative—on what they’re not good at. These children are often right-hemisphere dominant, so their strengths do not lie in the left-hemisphere (logical, linguistic) areas in which schools focus after the primary grades. These children may have some hidden talent in art, psychomotor skills, leadership, or personal relations.
Therefore, find one interest, talent, or skill these youth possess and, in private, say something positive to them. “I see you draw well. I can tell because of the detail in your drawing.” The message with youth who have low self-worth needs to be repeated a number of times in different ways. Some young people need to believe in someone else’s confidence in them before their own confidence sets in. Numerous testimonials and stories attest to a person’s success because someone else believed that the person would be capable of performing the task.
Building on the positive gives a positive mindset. The pictures that young people have of themselves drive their behaviors. What pictures are you helping young people visualize?