I overheard a conversation between a 9 year old and his support worker this week that made me think about how easily we can misinterpret what children are trying to tell us. They were sat outside the class doing some work and the child said “I can’t do it, I’m stupid”. The support worker replied by saying “You can, you’re just being lazy”.
I wondered what this child was feeling at that moment, what he was trying to tell his support worker and what he needed. I thought he was probably feeling very unsure of himself, lacking in confidence and self-esteem and wondered if the support workers response validated those feelings for him? I thought he was probably trying to tell his worker that he needed some extra help and support and if a response such as “ Maybe we could work on this together, what do you need help with” may have validated the child’s feelings and supported him, rather than confirming the already negative view he had of himself?
It can be useful to try and think about the child’s feelings and how they see themselves, especially when a child is saying something negative about themselves.