What’s your story?

From childhood, we are brought up with stories all around us. From picture books to fairytales, to storybooks and poems, to advertising and the newspapers. To the stories we tell children at school through their reports and our messages, to the messages parents feed them at home, in texts or through interactions. We are surrounded by stories which feed into our minds each and every day.

Those stories become part of our inner workings. In fact, the stories we hear about the world around us, to the stories we are told about ourselves, become part of our inner workings and belief systems. These belief systems later transform into our feelings.

Think for a moment.

A child is told that they lack attention repeatedly


This becomes a story we tell parents ‘Johnny does not concentrate’ 

Which becomes a belief ‘I am not capable of paying attention’ 


Which becomes a feeling ‘I am not able’ 

Which dictates our beliefs, behaviour patterns, actions and feelings 


Think for just a moment, of a story you were told when you were younger – how did this manifest into your belief systems as an adult.

Were you shy? Quiet? Lonely? Insecure? Uncoordinated? Noisy? Stupid? Bad? Anxious? Low?

Our stories literally BECOME our beliefs and this manifests into our feelings

A child who is told that they are shy, will believe that they cannot do things, which leads them to believe that they are not confident, which leads them to hold themselves back – which creates anxiety about new things….

Whilst fairytales are wonderful……the stories we tell children about themselves can become limiting and rather dangerous. Limiting their beliefs, reducing their resilience and affecting their self-esteem.

So, we need to do two things

  1. Tell them stories which are positive
  2. Role model telling positive stories about ourselves

Tell stories which are optimistic

It is so easy to focus on the things that children do which are negative, but we need to guide them to tell stories which focus on their strengths. These stories allow them to expand on their potential and create more energetic feelings.

Role model

If we listen carefully to our internal dialogue, we may find that we tell a number of negative stories to ourselves, which limit our own opportunities and create negative feelings in ourselves as well. If we role model using positive language about ourselves, and role modelling taking lessons from situations, we can support both our own mental health and well-being, as well as role modelling to children how to do the same.

For instance, if we change —-> ‘I feel so stressed, work has been awful’ to —–>  ‘my energy is low and today has felt challenging, so I am going to get an early night’ we help children shift from stress is impossible to manage and is out of my control to something I can impact and change.

Or, instead of saying ‘I hate new places, they make me anxious’ to ——> ‘when I go to new places, it take me out of my comfort zone, but I know when I have been there a while I will enjoy it’ we teach children resilience and new skills, rather than to fear anything that makes us feel uncomfortable momentarily.

We are children’s greatest teachers – to help them, we need to also model those language patterns.

Where to start?

Write down 10 statements that you routinely say to yourself, and 10 you often say to your own child, or those you work with.

Then, rewrite them as positive statements, shifting the focus to how you can take control of them, or reframe them as positives.


Want to learn more? 

If you want to learn more about mental health strategies you can join our Level 4 training (here).


© Dandelion Training and Development – All Rights Reserved

Further help 

For more articles about mental health visit – ARTICLES 

To learn more about child and adolescent mental health visit – COURSES 

For resources to support child and adolescent mental health visit –RESOURCES 

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