You walk softly past your child’s room at night, lower the light in the hallway, and then you hear it; a quiet song, a joke from TV, or maybe a soft voice repeating something heard at school that day. Listen to the tone, and most of the time you’ll hear a soothing timbre or quiet reasoning, like the tone of a good friend or supporter. Your child’s personal narrative, his or her self talk, serves several crucial purposes in maintaining his or her emotional and psychological health. Let me repeat that, because it is so important – a healthy internal tone is the basis for psychological and emotional wholeness and well-being. Self talk is the voice of social problem solving, helping to work through an emotional exchange or relationship conflict. It serves as a criticizer, a supporter, or a worrier when its role is to interpret something that has happened in the past or to plan a way of coping with the future. Since we are all destined to have this internal companion whispering in our ears for our entire lives, or what psychologists sometimes call the dialogical self, the importance of helping our children develop healthy “inner voices” is apparent and clear.
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