One of my boys had a really rough start to the school year. Almost every day he would come home with notes from his teacher in his behavior folder. He tore up a test, hid his work, refused to participate in an activity, wouldn’t look at his teacher when she tried to help him.
The normal consequences were not effective at all.
Taking away electronics, loosing TV time, extra chores, and loosing special treats.
Incentives weren’t working either. Have just three good days in a row and we will bring Chick-fil-A to school and have lunch with you, earn a special treat with two good days in a week and any other idea we could come up with. None of them worked.
It was heartbreaking. Not because he was disappointing me. I could see beyond all the behaviors and knew that he was struggling with so much more. I just wanted him to have a win… To have a good day… To be proud of himself. I wanted him to feel proud of himself. It broke me to know that he was defeated every day in his head. Something was blocking him.
One afternoon I was at my wits end. When it suddenly hit me.
He needs mantra. A new thought pattern. A new way of thinking about himself and what he can or can’t do.
I have made mantras for myself in the past when going through tough times. Sometimes unconsciously, I had been repeating to myself things that I needed to know and hear. This. This is what my son needed.
What is a mantra?
A personal mantra is an affirmation to motivate and inspire you to be your best self. It’s purpose is to provide motivation and encouragement to you when you need to focus your mind to achieve a goal. *source
Mantras use repetitive sounds to penetrate the unconscious mind. This repetition actually helps to adjust your entire being.
When creating a mantra you want it to be memorable, with a cadence, short and to the point. Reading your mantra over and over or writing it helps begin to engrave it into your consciousness.
What did I hope to gain from a Mantra for my child?
My goal in creating this mantra for my son was to see him change his response and thinking about himself when confronted with fear, uncertainty, worry, and more. Instead of withdrawing inside of himself, shutting down, or acting out, I want his consciousness to tell him he is strong, brave, bold, and has a voice that he can express to the world to communicate anything he needs.
He was unable to tell me that he didn’t know how to ask for help. He didn’t know how to say that he felt stupid for not being able to understand what the teacher was saying. He couldn’t ask for help because he thought that was the wrong thing to do. All of these beliefs he had about himself he couldn’t tell me he had. I had to see through the “Bad” behaviors he was having in class.
How to create a Mantra for your Child
Look beyond your child’s behaviors. Don’t focus on the actions he is displaying. Rather look at what is causing those behaviors and actions. This will be the basis of your mantra. The phrases and words to counter act those thoughts that cause the behaviors and actions he needs to overcome.
Things to remember when making a mantra for your child.
- Keep it simple.
- Don’t make it long.
- Easy to read.
- Easy to remember
This is my son’s mantra that I made.
I am Smart
I have Words
I have a Voice
I can use My Voice
I can Ask
I am Strong
I AM SPECIAL
Instead of having him write “I will not be bad at school” one hundred times like some of us had to do growing up. This activity emphasized the bad in us. Chanting over and over that we were in fact, bad.
My son wrote this mantra one to five times day. He read it to me. He read it to himself. I read it to him. Daddy read it to him. He read it to daddy. He said it to his brothers. He said it to his sisters. We repeated it over and over and over and over, until he could say it forwards and backwards and upside down.
He had no idea why he had to do it (Except that he had been bad at school). He didn’t understand the power behind the words. He didn’t know why I chose those phrases.
But slowly, we saw a change. He began to have good days. Days where he came home with a smiley face on his behavior report.
His teacher told me he came to her and told her he didn’t understand or hear her during the test instead of tearing up his spelling test and hiding it.
His belief about himself and what he could do was changing.
The other day the paper I originally wrote his mantra out on had fallen on the floor. He instinctively picked it up and told me, “This is mine, Mom. This is for me.” The pride in his voice melted me to tears.
He knew that these words were his. He didn’t think twice about what whether he had to share with his six siblings or whether he was good enough or strong enough or brave enough to be the little boy who was able to use his words to express the things he had in his head. He knew that he was was Smart, he had Words, he had a Voice, he could use his Voice, he could Ask for help, he was Strong, and he was so, so Special.
This is how you create a mantra for your child. How you create a new way of thinking for your sweet, little one who doesn’t believe they can do a seemly simple thing to you as an adult. We help them retrain their thoughts. Re-wire their thinking to believe the things we already know they are so capable of.
If your child has been struggling, I hope you will take a minute to look past the behavior and see the underlying reason for the choices they seemingly can’t stop making.
We need to help them create a new way of thinking. Even if they don’t know what is happening, we can make a mantra for them to help them re-wire their sub-consciousness. So when they come to that same situation instead of reverting to the belief that they are bad, unworthy, stupid, or incapable of overcoming it, they suddenly believe that they are strong, brave, capable, smart, and so, so special. Their behaviors will inevitably change because of the change in their thinking.
I was skeptical about how much a mantra could really help.
After seeing the response of my son to his mantra, I am making mantras for each of my children. I love that I can focus on their each, individual needs. I can focus on strengthening them in their weaknesses and helping them write those underlying beliefs we have about ourselves.