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How to Help Change Your Teens Negative Thinking Patterns

smiling teenage girl seated at school desk looking at phone to discover how to help change teens negative thinking patterns

Negative thinking patterns can be very detrimental to your teen’s mental health, education, and development. Teens can experience a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions that can be hard to control sometimes. When they get a negative thought in their heads, it can spiral out of control and lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and negatively impact their school performance. Fortunately, teens can stop the endless loop of negative self-talk and thinking by enrolling in a cognitive-behavioral therapy program.

At Imagine Boise, we work with Idaho teens between the ages of 12 and 17 who are struggling with depression, social anxiety, or other mental health disorders. We use the latest in behavioral therapies to treat all types of conditions in teens. We combine cognitive-behavioral therapy with holistic therapies and medical support for an all-encompassing treatment program in a comfortable and private facility. For more information about how cognitive-behavioral therapy can help your teen son or daughter, call 888.597.2807 or fill out our contact form to send us a message today.

How Damaging Are Negative Thinking Patterns?

Negative self-talk can be very unhealthy for teens who don’t know how to tell others how they are feeling. If they internalize their feelings, those negative thinking patterns will worsen and lead to a host of physical and mental health issues. Depression, low self-esteem, and self-isolation are very common for teens who develop negative thinking. If they don’t talk about their feelings, it can lead to a substance use disorder as they try to find new ways to cope with their negative thinking.

There are four distinct types of negative thinking patterns:

  1. Personalizing – Teens who personalize their negative thinking will always blame themselves if something bad happens, even if they are not the cause.
  2. Filtering – This type of negative thinking happens when the person focuses on the negative aspect of a situation. No matter what it is, they will always focus on the negative.
  3. Catastrophizing – For teens with this type of negativity, they automatically assume the worst outcome will happen.
  4. Polarizing – This type of negative thinking leads people to believe there is only success or failure with no middle ground. Even a partial success will be seen as a complete failure.

At Imagine Boise, we work closely with each teen to identify their unhealthy thinking patterns and develop a treatment program that teaches them new ways of thinking. Teens will develop healthy coping skills to replace their negative thoughts with more positive ones, along with other skills that prompt a healthy lifestyle.

How to Help Your Teen with Negative Thoughts

Helping teens stop negative thinking patterns from worsening is possible when you are active in their lives and listen to what they are saying. This is on top of having your teen work with a therapist to discover the root cause behind their negativity and develop new positive ways of thinking.

Here are some tips on how to help your teen with negative thoughts:

  • Stop and listen – Taking time out of your day to have a real conversation with your teen can be difficult when life gets busy, but it should be done several times a week. Try to plan it right after dinner time and try to make it a nightly routine.
  • Ask specific questions – When you ask them about their day, ask specific questions that require more than just a yes or no answer. This can help them slow down racing thoughts by focusing on a specific response.
  • Be positive – Negativity attracts negativity. When talking with your teen, keep things positive and upbeat. Don’t discuss any negativity in your life or answer with a statement like, “If you think things are bad now, just wait till you get older.”

Stopping unhealthy thinking patterns is imperative for your teen son or daughter’s mental health and education. If negative thinking is allowed to continue, it will interfere with their school work, ability to connect with friends, and maintain healthy romantic relationships.

Enroll in a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program at Imagine Boise

At Imagine Boise, our team has years of experience helping teens stop negative thinking and replace them with new positive thinking patterns. When you and your teen first arrive, we discuss the reasons you are here and run a full assessment of their physical and mental health. We use this information to create a well-rounded treatment program that includes cognitive-behavioral therapy and other beneficial therapies and treatments.

If your teen’s education and development are at risk due to negative thinking, pick up the phone and call 888.597.2807 today to discuss our various treatment options.