All you need for this one is a magnet board, dry erase markers, magnets, and a post it note or two.
1. Draw a person to represent the child or have the child or teen draw themselves on the magnet board. Ask the child questions like, “Can we control what other people do?” “Can we always control what happens to us in our lives?” Then discuss how we cannot control many events in our lives or the actions and choices of others BUT we can control our attitudes and response to such things. We can control what we THINK and BELIEVE regardless of what happens to us or what others choose to do.
2. Have the child identify negative messages he or she has received in his or her life from others, life events, and themselves. Write these on a post it note and attach to the magnet person. Talk about how the child has allowed these things to stick with them and the associated behaviors that prove this. “I see you wrote ‘I’m bad at math’ and I think you have allowed that to stick with you in your life. Do you think maybe that’s why you skip that class?”
3. Have magnets ready with prompts like “fun times,” “good memories,” “family,” “true friends,” “safe places,” “proud moments,” etc. Allow the child to talk about each of these before they stick it to their magnet person, each time ripping away a small piece of the post it note with negative messages until it is gone.
4. Celebrate! Point out that the positive things that help us feel safe and happy are more powerful than the things that hurt us. We do have the responsibility to notice and let go of the negative message and beliefs while choosing to allow the positive things to STICK WITH US. 🙂 Talk about how the child thinks his or her life would look differently without hanging onto the negative messages.