I’m a single mother. My daughter Vivian is a freshman in high school. She doesn’t want to go to school any more. She uses a lot of negative self-talk such as, “I’m stupid. I’m dumb. I just can’t do the school work.” She procrastinates doing schoolwork or doesn’t complete the work at all. I’m afraid she won’t pass this year’s classes.


As Vivian’s mother, I have to admit that I am a negative role model. I’m somewhat of a negative thinker myself. Recently, I heard about the power of positive thinking and wondered if that could help us. What can you suggest for my daughter and myself?


The mind is very powerful. Positive thinking can affect your physical and mental health in many beneficial ways. Without going into a lot of theory, here’s what I suggest for you and your daughter:

  1. Start practicing positive affirmations so both you and your daughter can build confidence in yourselves. You can find positive affirmation podcasts and recordings on Spotify and YouTube or you can make them up yourselves. I suggest your daughter make a list of positive statements about herself. She can tape the list to her mirror so she will see it several times a day and begin to say these things to herself. You need to do the same thing. Examples of positive affirmations include: “I am smart enough to do the work I need to do.” Or, “I can ask for help when I need it.” She could change a thought of never doing anything right to “I will do my best.”

Your affirmations as a woman and a mother might include: “I’m a good mother. I love and accept myself today and every day.”

  1. Surround yourselves with other positive people. Don’t hang out with negative people.
  2. Practice being happy for other people’s success. Their successes need to help you feel motivated, not jealous.
  3. Practice gratitude. Every day you and your daughter can each write down one thing or more that you are grateful for. Gratitude enhances our positive thinking.

With your daughter in danger of failing her classes this year, I suggest you make an appointment with her teachers to develop a plan so she will pass the school year. Regardless of her grades in school, creating new patterns of positive thinking with your daughter will no doubt have a beneficial impact on both of you.


Betty Richardson, PhD, RN, CS, LPC, LMFT, is an Austin-based psychotherapist.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Austin Family Magazine

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this with your friends!