Let me know if you think the following would be better suited for academia.stackexchange. But I think some answers will be maths-specific, so I'll start with it here.
I'm a maths tutor. Up until now, when a student (ages 12 - 18) talks about maths negatively - "I don't like maths", "I suck at maths" etc, I have listened to what they had to say, but I don't have anything great to say in response. Sometimes I empathise, "yes maths is hard...", but I don't really address or talk to them about their negative attitude towards maths in a substantive way- rather I try to get the student to focus on the maths we intend to cover in the hour's long tutoring session. These situations do happen fairly regularly when I start tutoring someone new, and sometimes even if I have been tutoring them for a while. The reason my approach has been to not address their negative self-perception is partly I don't know exactly how and partly because I feel guilty that I'm basically forcing them to study maths when they don't want to - and I believe that if someone doesn't want to learn something, then I shouldn't be forcing them to.
After some reflection and reading some comments from other questions on this website, I think there is a better way to handle this situation. This would be to help them reframe their hatred of maths or self-perception of their own abilities as being poor, by starting with asking leading questions such as, "why do you think you suck at maths", or "why do you hate maths?", and then they will say something like "I get bad marks" or "I just don't understand it".
But instead of saying, "well you may have got bad marks in the past, but with effort and time you can improve your maths abilities for sure", or, "you may not understand the maths now- we need to start from the fundamentals and break it down into smaller chunks."
Sure, this is fine. But I think it could be really useful to also explain to them that, psychologically, if they keep saying to themselves, "I suck at maths" and "I don't understand maths" then that is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because: if they don't believe in themselves then they won't even try. And spending real time and effort studying maths trying is the biggest step a young student can take towards self-confidence and ultimately self-improvement.
So, is it a good idea to discuss with the student that reframing is a regular exercise they can do whenever a negative thought pops up- remember aimed at a young person - and how exactly would you explain this/discuss this with them? What exactly should you say? And, what other useful reframing exercises are there?
I have done some reframing myself with a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) professional for my anxiety, but I'm far from an expert at understanding how to teach someone else that they can reframe their negative thoughts and what the process of doing this entails. So my question is: how you would you explain/discuss this with someone? Would you explain it differently depending on the student's age? I suspect $18-$ year olds would be able to understand and implement reframing a lot better than $12$ year olds, so maybe a different approach needs to be taken towards my younger students?
Thanks in advance.