Verbal Vomit part 2 or Only YOU Can Prevent Negative Inner Speech

Time for the thrills and chills of the Ripple. Please be sure to keep your hands and feet inside the cart at all times and enjoy your ride.

I think we’ll begin with questions.
I’m a big fan of questions and the following are the ones Jessica and I asked…we suspect they’re pretty similar to the ones you asked…let us compare…shall we?

Why is inner speech so important?
Why should we be paying attention to this?
In the long run it governs your behavior.
The End.


Had you going there for a minute didn’t I? You were like, WHAT? That’s IT!?! But you were about to get back in line and ride it all over again weren’t you?
Of course you were.  I’ll let you in on a little secret, we did exactly the same thing when we were working, only it went a bit like this:
Robyn: OK this is the last sentence we wrote last time.
Jessica: Read it again please.
Then Jessica asked those two questions and immediately answered them in one sentence.
Then Robyn got that deer in the headlights look about her and responded with something to the effect of: no one is going to believe it’s that simple.
So we found ourselves getting back on the ride.

Point being (you mean there’s a point?) Yes, I assure you there is.
It really is as simple yet complicated as:  In the long run, inner speech governs your behavior.

Imagine that as parents and teachers we are going ‘round with great big highlighters (Robyn’s is pink), and throughout our day highlighting any number of things we experience and by this highlighting, we’re reinforcing that particular behavior. (You with me so far?)
When we highlight children’s behavior, we tend to judge, theoretically because if we highlight their behavior  we’re helping them learn, right?
When we highlight and judge children’s behavior, we are creating their inner speech.  The thing is, we are particularly good at highlighting the “bad” behavior. Our intentions are well meant…if we point out what isn’t right about their behavior then they will learn what is right. Um…emphatically no.

What we as parents and teachers, absolutely need to do (starting right this moment) is stop judging with our highlighters and notice children’s behavior and actions as helpful, thoughtful, or kind.  Consider this, if we only highlight the bad things we are being hurtful, and this is the kind of “hurtful” that sets a pattern that can last a lifetime.
Stop judging what kids do as “good” or “bad”. Seriously, stop judging.

Our brains are pattern seeking, so if we’re forever highlighting the negative that’s what our brain begins to search for. What you focus on you get more of!  It’s your choice what to pay attention to, are you focusing on the helpful or the hurtful? We must begin to see through new eyes and encourage our brains to pick up new patterns. It is imperative to change our focus and re-pattern our brains because we are creating their inner speech and it will last a lifetime!

Every child does helpful things.
Pay attention.
Observe without judgment.
Learn to see things from the child’s point of view.
It only takes once.  

Noticing even one helpful thing begins to change the pattern in the grown-up’s brain. Verbalizing it to the child creates that positive pattern in his or her brain. And continues to re-pattern your own brain…you see where we’re going with this right?

When you notice and describe, “brain food” is created, feeding your brain in a positive way, creating new patterns. Feeling a sense of accomplishment creates a serotonin boost, and that is seriously yummy food for your brain!
What you give to others you strengthen within yourself…it’s all about the yummy brain food which creates new patterns, which makes more yummy brain food…it’s a catch 22…but in a good way!

Here’s a little checklist to jump start your delicious, pattern-building brain food:
What is YOUR inner speech saying to you? The way you talk to yourself is the way you will talk to children (and other adults too)
Notice helpful acts however small.
Verbalize what you see.

Positive inner speech is a gift that continues to give…you’re not just starting the patterns, creating the inner speech, you’re teaching the child to do this for herself…and for others!
It is always bigger than you think!


Thank you for riding the Ripple with us, please exit the cart to your right and enjoy your day.

Here’s a shout out to Dr Becky Bailey for sharing Conscious Discipline that inspired us to write about inner speech…now that’s a Ripple!



6 Replies to “Verbal Vomit part 2 or Only YOU Can Prevent Negative Inner Speech”

  1. Wow! That was an awesome ride! Not only did it re-affirm treating children always in the positive-to get the positive reflected back at yourself, but I learned that positive inner speech is good for oneself, and self reflection.

    1. Hi Cathie,
      It is an awesome ride indeed! Start noticing your inner speech. Dr. Bailey taught me to ask myself, “Are these thoughts helpful or hurtful?” If your answer is hurtful then reframe it to be helpful. Changing your thoughts is so powerful. Thank you for your comment. It was helpful to all that read!

  2. Love this! It is a great reminder to everyone, no matter what age children they work with or have in their family. I think it is especially important to foster positive inner speech with young children because as they pass through the teenage years the speech tends to be come self-conscious and overly negative, and it would be powerful for children to have a positive foundation of self-confidence to draw from. Any new experience can cause questions and doubt, and if their actions are seen as helpful with positive intentions, they are less likely to be afraid to push past their edge of comfort.

    1. I agree completely Nicole!
      As you say, no matter what age…this is something I keep saying, all these things we talk about with young children carry over to teens too! Reinforcing this positive inner speech for them as teens is paramount!

  3. Re-reading this- actually musing about the roller-coaster picture…. Thinking of a DNA helix and the interconnectedness our thoughts, words and actions. As we notice something helpful, smile, and describe what was helpful… all those lovely mirror neurons are firing, which then nurture the seeds of helpfulness…. and the DNA Helix grows…

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