Thought Challenging

Thought challenging means identifying whether your thoughts are helpful or unhelpful, and if they are unhelpful, questioning them.

Thought challenging can be a powerful way to rethink unhelpful thoughts your child may be having. Here, you can sit down with your child and do the following:

  1. Identify any unhelpful and negative thoughts (e.g., “The world is unsafe”)
  2. Question the thought: is the thought realistic? What evidence is there for and against this thought? Is this thought based on fear or on fact? How likely is this ‘worst case scenario’?
  3. Judge the thought: is there a more helpful thought which replace the unhelpful thought?

As your child has been through a frightening experience, some worries may be based in truth but worry and anxiety extended them beyond their logical boundaries. So, it is important to help your child recognise this and perhaps come up with a more helpful and realistic thought.

For example:

  • Thought: I will never be the same again.
  • Evidence for: I was injured and am feeling really anxious.
  • Evidence against: People also go through similar things and feel better afterwards,
  • More helpful thought: I may be having a difficult time right now, but this is temporary, and I am safe and supported. I will get better with time.

You can work through some of these prompts with your child in the sheet linked below. 

Please click on the image below to download the worksheet.