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10 Year Old Son Who Says He's A Loser

by Jacinda
(Como, NSW, Australia)


My son has had challenges with his schooling and we have done a lot of different things to remediate. Academically, while very bright, he is only average in a class of very academic peers and draws the conclusion he is dumb, a loser and crap at school, which he will tell me angrily even when i am rousing on him for something like not eating his lunch (again).

He has been seeing a psychologist for a year, which has really been more help for us in how to parent him- we had tended to reprimand a lot but are now trying to praise him for every smallest thing, but it is hard when his behaviour sabotages it.

I really like your scripts on "I'm good enough" and "I mess up"' but he is really reluctant to say the positive comments, changing them to a more negative version. He is OK with me just tapping on him while he tells me about his day.

I am wondering if I should just surrogate tap for a while and keep doing the "tell me about your day" tapping at bedtime, keep trying to do the "I'm good enough" script and tone down the really positive sayings, or go and see a practitioner before trying to do any more myself.
Any tips?

Comments for 10 Year Old Son Who Says He's A Loser

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Bridging Tapping Ideas For EFT For Kids
by: Annie Desantis

Hi Jacinda,

It sounds like you are doing some really great things to help build his self esteem and belief in himself. Tapping is a great tool, but it can be hard when they are resistant.

Surrogate tapping is surprisingly powerful. Partly because you are also clearing out your own stuff at the same time!

There is no point in trying to force him to do it, but you can build in his self doubts into the tapping. Starting with clearing out all the negative talk before trying to tap in affirmations. It is often a good trick to use statements like "Even though . . .
Even if I don't believe it yet . . .
Even though I don't think I am very clever I do know I learn things in my own way.
Even if I don't yet believe I am doing very well in school, part of me does know I'm doing OK.

Jumping right in with affirmations does often bring up all the doubts and negative self talk, and that is good as then that is exactly what needs to be tapped on to clear. Kids that do not have a very good concept of themselves will find it very hard to do affirmations, so just alternate back and forth between tapping out their statements and then suggesting bridging affirmations.

Trying to jump right up to "I'm a brilliant kid and I am really successful at school" may well be too big a leap for him. But you can build in lots of bridging things like:
"I am doing really well at finding the things I am good at"
"I am getting better at being kinder to myself" "Just for today I am going to look for the things I do well"

Bridging Tapping Ideas For EFT For Kids - Part Two
by: Annie Desantis

I suspect he is a child that does not fit the mold of the average learner, and unfortunately schools are geared up for average children. He most likely learns a bit differently, could even be more kinesthetic, so may need movement or touch or physical things to learn. Sadly schools don't cope well with children that need to wriggle or jiggle, so these kids often feel they are not succeeding.

Since he clearly has a very highly developed self critic, he is very hard on himself.So lots of tapping on treating himself well and helping him to develop a good self carer. He can even name it or create a character that is his internal support buddy. Create his internal cheer squad that will be on his side no matter what.

Ask that part of him to list all the good things about him, to tell you all the things he did in the day that worked pretty well, or he handled well.

What if . . . is another good tool, "What if I wasn't so hard on myself, what might I be like?" What if I decided to be proud of myself, maybe that would help me to be less stressed at school"

Maybe . . . is another good one, "Maybe I can let myself feel good about me today" "Maybe I am doing pretty well most of the time".

When you introduce possibilities like Maybe, or what if, or even though, firstly his inner critic does not feel like it is being criticized! This is the part of him that has been working to help him do well and achieve. And although we know it is out of balance, it is a pretty strong part of him and needs to be on-side. Then bringing in possible options or words helps to gently introduce a new concept about himself rather than a black and white "I am" statement that for him just is not believable.

"Even though I can be pretty hard on myself, maybe for today I can notice all the things I do well"
"What if I only gave myself a hard time when I know I did not try very hard.
"What if I remembered that there were lots of steps that I did really well even if I didn't quite do as well as I wanted."

And of course the more you can counteract any negative feedback to him and pick yourself up when you are being overly critical, or monitor the way you talk about yourself, then the more he sees you focusing on the positive things.

Part Three Follows . . .

Bridging Tapping Ideas For EFT For Kids - Part Three
by: Annie Desantis

You can ask him questions about his day that focus on him looking for good things, and great that you are tapping with him when he talks to you about his day.

"What did you like best about today?"
"Was there something that made you laugh today?"
"What did you do that was kind to someone?"
"What did you do that was kind to yourself?"
"What was your favorite time at school today?"
"Who did you spend time with, and what did you do together?"
"What did you feel pleased about today - even it was only a tiny thing?"

It sounds like you are working really hard to turn things around for him, and that is fantastic. It is not easy to switch focus as a parent, much of what we do is automatic from the way we were raised. Having the willingness to learn to do things differently, and being flexible to try different things with our kids to help them feel good about themselves is not always easy to do.

The scripts from EFT 4 Kids are not set in concrete at all. The more you adapt them to suit your own
child the better, and certainly in your son's case, using more bridging affirmation statements rather than full on positive affirmations will probably fit better for his personality and issues.

Keep up all the positive things you are doing, it will be slowly making a difference in helping him, and as he matures he will start to build more resilience and a more positive view of himself.

All the best,
Annie D :)

Surrogate Tapping Question
by: Jacinda

Hi Annie,
I'm the mum with the 10year old with low self esteem. I just wanted to clarify that with surrogate tapping, I basically pretend I'm him doing the tapping - so it's all first person from his perspective (eg "even though I always mess up", not "Even though Ethan always messes up. .")?


Annie's Reply:

Hi Jacinda,

Good question, yes you are right surrogate tapping means you do it as if it were you. And actually as parents because we are so close to our kids, we carry some of the energy around their issues, so tapping on you will also clear anything in you to do with his stuff as well as help to shift it in him.

It also means you can introduce statements that you think might be underneath that might be a problem.

"Sometimes I feel bad at school even if I am trying really hard"
"I don't want to let Mum and Dad down so if I don't do well I think they might be disappointed in me"

And try to introduce an element of doubt about his negative self statements early on:
"Even though I THINK I always mess up ..."

"Maybe messing up is just a way to figure out how to do things better . . ."

"Even though I sometimes mess up, maybe I can stop giving myself a hard time"

"Making mistakes are OK, I need to make mistakes to learn"

"No-one is ever perfect, it's fine to make mistakes because it means I am trying to learn new things"

"Maybe messing up can be a good thing because then I get to figure out better ways of doing things"

More than likely a lot of his perceptions about not being good enough have come from you anyway, so the more you can tap around acceptance and not having to be perfect to be OK, the more it will help him to come to a better balance with it all.

Of course we want our kids to succeed and do well, and if they do things wrong or don't meet our expectations then they always pick up on our disapproval. For a child that has got a very entrenched set of negative beliefs, he has been collecting evidence of not being good enough for a long time. You may even be running some of the same things yourself. Parents who have very high expectations or are high achievers often have absorbed similar messages from their own family - having to perfect to be loved, never feeling good enough.

So that is why surrogate tapping can be very powerful. You can be clearing a lot of your own unconscious stuff at the same time as working on his issues.

Good luck with it,
Happy tapping,
Annie D :)

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