B: I don’t want to go to Flo’s party.
M: Why not, darling? It’s going to be brilliant.
B: Because she smells and she’s got horrid freckles and she’s stupid.
M: Gosh, that’s a funny old way to think isn’t it, Munchkin?
Absolutely choc-full of cognitive distortions.
B: What, Mummy?
M: Well, saying she smells is something of an overgeneralization, wouldn’t you say?
It’s true she had been poking her little mittens around in some tuna fish last time we saw her but that doesn’t mean to say she smells like that generally.
As for the freckles remark, I think you’ve got a rotten case of mental filtering, you Cheeky Monkey.
Picking out tiny negative things and focusing on them just a little too much is a bit rudey-bananas.
Freckles are kisses from the sun, even if she is completely covered in nasty, large ones.
And calling her stupid is just old-fashioned labeling, which doesn’t do anybody any good.
B: But it’s going to be an awful party.
M: Dear, oh dear. You might have to come and visit Mummy’s nice lady with her next time- hey, Poppet?
Predicting it’s going to be an awful party sounds suspiciously like jumping to conclusions to me or, more specifically, fortune telling.
B: But that doesn’t make sense.
M: I know. It sounds a bit ‘Harry Potter’, doesn’t it?
B: No, not that. You said the party was going to be brilliant. How do you know?
M: So you have been listening? That’s smashing.
I won’t reward your cleverness with food because that might establish some harmful associations, but jolly well done.
I was being ever so slightly naughty and doing some wishful thinking back there.
But Mummy’s paying the lady quite a lot of money to learn these things so surely there’s no harm in using them to her advantage now and then.
B: I don’t care. They’re always awful parties and I’m going to go and die of fish smells.
M: ‘Always’, ‘Never’- what a little all-or-nothing thinker you’ve become.
Mummy’s going to let you in on a special secret: few aspects of human behaviour are so absolute.
As for thinking you’re going to die, that’s a large dollup of catastrophization, with chocolate sauce on top!
Even if she’s been fiddling in a tin of John West’s again, it won’t be the end of the world.
All the same, I’m glad we’ve had this time together, B.
I’ll let you stay at home with Mummy and we can read a book together.
B: Goody, Mummy. Can it be ‘Biscuit Bear’?
M: Why not? After a couple of chapters of Dr. Burns’ ‘Feeling Good’ handbook, we can treat ourselves.