The Father Factor

Weird Science: Teach Dads “Self-Talk” to Become Better Dads

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Oct 9, 2018


During your childhood, did anyone tell you that talking to yourself out loud was weird and might be a sign of mental illness? I can recall a ton of people from my childhood who subscribed to that myth.

The fact is “self-talk,” whether internal (silently in your head) or external (out loud), is quite healthy. In fact, research has found that that in some instances external self-talk can be more beneficial than internal self-talk.

The bottom line is we can use either kind of self-talk to positively influence our own thoughts and behavior. Self-talk can be so powerful, in fact, that you should teach dads how to use it to become better dads.

The reason self-talk can be a powerful tool for dads is that it helps them to “self-distance”: to gain distance from themselves so that they can look at a situation objectively. The process of self-distancing will act as a self-coach who encourages a dad to persevere through the difficult situations so many dads face on their journey to become a better dad.

The key for dads to initiate self-distancing is to talk to themselves in the first, second, or third person. For example:

  • (1stPerson) I will be a better dad!
  • (2ndPerson) You will be a better dad!
  • (3rdPerson) John will be a better dad!

Research shows that talking to yourself in the second person is more powerful than in the first person and, likewise, talking to yourself in the third person is more powerful than in the second person.

The benefits of self-talk can extend beyond the dads you serve. Dads can teach their children to use it. Even you can use it to become, for example, a better program facilitator.

  • I will become a better facilitator!
  • You will become a better facilitator!
  • [Insert your name] will become a better facilitator!

Say it out loud and your coworkers might think you’re weird, but, hey…who cares!

(Chris will be a better blog writer! Did you hear that?)

What kinds of “weird science” do you use in your work with dads?

Did you know that National Fatherhood Initiative’s Effective Facilitation Certificate™ can help you to become a better facilitator?


Effective Fatherhood Program Facilitator

Topics: Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, Tips & Tricks

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