Positive Affirmations to Counteract Teen Bullying

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It is not uncommon for victims of bullying to repeat the negative messages they hear, sometimes without even realizing they are doing it. For instance, they may say, “I’m such a loser,” every time they make a mistake. Or, they may say, “I’m such a cow,” every time they look in the mirror.

When this happens, the victims are internalizing the messages bullies have said to them or about them. In fact, they have heard these messages so many times from bullies that they often believe they are true and repeat them to themselves.

As a result, it is extremely important that teens learn how to counteract these negative messages with positive ones.

The Benefit of Positive Affirmations

One of the best ways to do that is with positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are positive statements that kids repeat to themselves. These statements help teens reprogram their brains and their way of thinking after being bullied. The goal is that positive thinking becomes more automatic and the negative words would become less frequent.

The goal is that your teen will learn to make positive statements about what she would like to see manifested in her life and repeat them enough so that they become part of her thought processes. Eventually, these statements should define how she sees herself and the world around her.

Tips for Teens to Create Positive Affirmations

To help your teen come up with her own positive affirmations, use the following five guidelines.

Encourage your teen to examine her goals. Ask her to think about what she wants to be different in her life. This means she should be able to identify what she wants to happen, including the behaviors, attitudes, and traits she believes she needs to get there.

For instance, maybe she has been bullied by a group of mean girls and she would like to expand her social circle or improve her social skills. Or perhaps she notices that her self-esteem is lagging, so she would like to take steps to feel better about who she is. Maybe she has experienced bullying in sports and wants to change her experience there. Whatever her experience, having clearly defined goals will help her change the trajectory of her life and her situation.

Help your teen create statements. Once your teen has recognized what she wants to be different in her life, challenge her to put those ideas into a few simple statements. She should phrase the statements as if they are already true and not what she is hoping will happen. For example, the affirmation might be: “I am feeling more connected to school each day.” This statement would be better than saying: “I want to expand my social circle.”

The idea is that your teen is programming her subconscious mind to believe the statements. By doing so, that helps the goals become a reality. Remember, your teen is trying to make something happen, not express a list of wants.

Make sure your teen’s statements are positive. What this means, is that your teen should focus on what she wants to happen not on what she does not want to happen. For instance, if your teen wants to develop a healthier lifestyle because she has been a victim of weight teasing, she should avoid saying things like “I don’t want to feel fat,” or “I have stopped feeling fat.” Instead, she should say, “I am feeling healthy.”

Be sure your teen’s affirmations are realistic. Remember, the subconscious mind benefits from positive affirmations, but if your teen creates statements that are too far-fetched, her mind will not be fooled. Her positive affirmations should be hopeful but realistic. Have her experiment a little bit to see what feels right for her.

Encourage your teen to speak her affirmations. Once your teen has created her positive affirmations, help her put them into practice. Encourage her to speak kindly and positively to herself every day, several times a day. Additionally, it might help to put the positive affirmations on notes and stick them on her mirror. Or, it might help to post them on her bed or make them a screen saver on her computer.

The idea is that she is reminded to reaffirm the positive things in her life and where she is going. When she does this consistently, eventually the negative self-talk will become a thing of the past. And she will feel good about herself and her life.

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  1. Cohen GL, Sherman DK. The Psychology of Change: Self-Affirmation and Social Psychological Intervention. Annu Rev Psychol. 2014;65:333-371. doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115137