Parents sometimes make the mistake of trying to make their child feel he is good at everything. This false feedback will result in your child having a distorted sense of self. Children need to learn to appraise themselves accurately.
When your child expresses negative self-talk that is accurate, it can be helpful to assist him in accepting the negative aspect of himself. If your child is truly poor at kickball, there are several responses that may be of help. “Would you like to be better at kickball?” shows him that the situation might be temporary. “Is it important to you to be good at kickball?” prompts him to realize he does not have to be good at everything. “Is there something you feel that you are really good at?” helps him change the focus from the negative to the positive.
Offering these concepts in question form is better than simply telling him that he does not have to be good at everything, or that he shouldn’t worry because he is good at swimming. Questions teach him the process of evaluating himself and his negative self-talk so that eventually he can do it on his own.