Excerpted from “MIDDLE SCHOOL SUPERPOWERS: Raising Resilient Tweens in Turbulent Times by Phyllis L. Fagell.” Copyright © 2023. Available from Hachette Go, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Challenge distorted thinking
Tweens think they wouldn’t lie to themselves, but they do. They can catastrophize, think in all-or-nothing terms, jump to conclusions, overgeneralize, discount the positive, or blame themselves or others when something goes wrong, to name a few common thinking errors. For instance, if ten people tell a kid that they love their haircut, but one person says, “I see you got a haircut,” they might spend the rest of the day trying to decipher the one ambiguous comment. If a teacher changes a kid’s seat because they’re disruptive, the kid might conclude that the relationship is irreparably damaged. Or if they bomb a history test, they might think, “I suck at history and the teacher clearly hates me, so what’s the point?” That kind of defeatist, unproductive thinking serves only to worsen their suffering.
At the core of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the idea that how you think impacts how you feel and act. In other words, your thoughts determine your feelings and behavior….