During crises, our mind might be filled with concerns and worries about the health of our loved ones, not being able to see our loved ones, managing work and family, and uncertainty around the current COVID-19 situation.
Just like us, our children too might find it hard to understand what might be happening and may have many thoughts and questions about the present situation and other things. They too may have many negative thoughts which they might sometimes share with us or sometimes find it hard to express.
Negative thoughts are naturally prone to anxiety when you experience unknowns, stresses, failures, and comparisons.
Paying attention to our children’s moods and habits can tell us a lot about how they are doing at this time. We can pay attention to check if there is any change in moods, sleeping and eating patterns.
What can be done to avoid negative thoughts in children?
Have you ever realised that negative thoughts are like raindrops where one after the other follows and there are always several more that come flooding in? What if we taught our children instead of running for cover while the storm builds, embrace these thoughts with compassion?
In these current uncertain times, it is important to remind our children that our thoughts could also be full of solutions and may be able to help us find ways of handling our feelings by recognising them. Positive solutions could change our mood and might help us accomplish our goals.
What is the RAIN technique?
RAIN is a process that was developed by Michelle McDonald as part of the mindfulness movement, which is characterised by an emphasis on maintaining awareness of your surroundings and the thoughts and feelings that accompany them without judgement. This technique can help your child become their best friend instead of their own worst critic!
Here are the basic steps you can teach your children to take on their negative thoughts, to soothe them, and move on:
R = Recognise. Recognise the emotions or thoughts that are troubling you. …
A = Acknowledge, Accept, Allow. …
I = Inquire, Investigate. …
N = Non-identify.
Step 1: Recognise the troubling emotion or thought
Ask your child questions like “How are you feeling?” or “Where do you feel the pain in your body?” so that your child knows that they are being heard and they are not alone in feeling or behaving the way that they are.
Step 2: Allow the moment to happen
Tell your child that they need to let their thoughts and feelings just be there. Even if we don’t like it. It’s okay to feel this way. Our mind is like a sea where all kinds of sea animals live together similarly in our minds all kinds of thoughts can exist, good and bad both, we just have to make sure that we balance them out in life.
Step 3: Investigate with kindness
When a compromising situation arises, ask your child “When have you felt the same way before?” or “What do you need right now?” so that your child doesn’t feel frightened or scared to share their feelings with you and you might just end up putting them out of misery when you will know what is troubling your child.
Step 4: Non-Identify
Tell your child that sometimes we can have angry thoughts and feelings and it’s okay. Our thoughts are not always true though so we can’t believe them all the time. Our thoughts and feelings come and go. They are not who we are. Sad feelings and thoughts are like clouds. Clouds pass, the sun comes out again, and you feel better.
Managing our children’s thought bubbles and bursting the negative ones is an important practice. This means no reliving the past, and no preparing for the future.
“Your thoughts carry you wherever you want to go. Weak thoughts don’t have the energy to carry you far!” – Israelmore Ayivor