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"Anchor Thoughts" and How Teens Can Benefit From Them

Ms. Dora is a parent, grandparent, and Christian counselor who offers suggestions on raising confident, compassionate, responsible children.

If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. - Napoleon Hill

Just as the ship anchor keeps the vessel from drifting into the open seas, so anchor thoughts keep the individual from wandering into unapproved behaviors. These anchor thoughts embed themselves into the mind, and without conscious effort from the individual, they influence attitude, speech, and conduct.

The ship's anchor keeps the vessel from drifting; anchor thoughts keep the individual from wandering.  Photo by Oxyman

The ship's anchor keeps the vessel from drifting; anchor thoughts keep the individual from wandering. Photo by Oxyman

What if we can help our teens establish some virtuous anchor thoughts to guide their decisions as they take to the open seas of life?

Teens formulate their anchor thoughts by adopting messages they receive as beliefs. Because they often misinterpret messages (from speech and conduct in their space, from media presentations, and even from their own perception of life), it is important to help them clarify the meaning of what they see and hear. The sooner they get it right, the sooner we can trust them to be responsible.

Repetition is a proven method to help inspire them with good thoughts that can become anchors to good conduct. By using appropriate slogans, affirmations, or event themes, teens may eventually adopt them as anchor thoughts.

How an Anchor Thought Works

From her repeated conversations with parents and guidance counselors, a female teen establishes an anchor thought that marriage comes before motherhood. That thought is embedded in her mind.

She is in a relationship with a young man who convinces her that he loves her, and her emotions begin to control her responses to him. One day, he suggests that they surrender to their physical passion and he adds that if she gets pregnant, he will marry her. What he said conflicts with her belief that marriage comes before pregnancy. Her anchor thought pulls her into making a decision which complements the belief she has already established.

Replace Faulty Thinking

Teens in love.

Teens in love.

Many errors in teenage thinking have been established and passed on to the detriment of those who believe them. Following are two situations.

  • A male teen is driven by his need for power and recognition. He is convinced, through false messages he received, that his proof of manliness can be measured by the number of girls he seduces. Acting on his belief, he creates emotional disasters for himself and for the girls. It is not enough to scold him or ground him. He has to be taught that there is error in his belief, and then be encouraged to adopt a new anchor thought as a replacement. For example, the proof of manliness is the practice of self-control, and a healthy admiration for girls.
  • A female teen is driven by her need for security. A young man offers to protect her and provide for her needs. She has learned, through false messages, that the young man who is kind to her deserves the right to her body. Soon, she receives all she needs, as well as some of what she does not need—various forms of abuse. It is not enough to forbid her to see him. It helps to teach her that there is folly in her belief, and then encourage her to replace it with a thought like, Building my self-confidence will benefit me more than depending on someone else for my happiness.1

Sample Anchor Thoughts

Following are some sample anchor thoughts, under four different headings, which can be powerful in the life of a teenager. Some teens need help putting their thoughts into words, and they can be encouraged to help each other.


  • I’m God’s masterpiece, always valuable to Him.
  • My beauty is to be admired, not exploited.
  • I show others how to respect me by the way I respect myself.
  • I attract people with my personality and wit, not with my body.
  • My self-worth remains intact, no matter what folks think or say about me.

Deportment and Conduct

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  • I decide who and what are allowed into my space.
  • Disrespect for anybody is disrespect for everybody.
  • I am careful about the impression I make by my deportment.
  • I intentionally feed my senses with wholesome thoughts.
  • I help other people, being careful not to hurt myself in the process.


  • Wholesome friendships offer freedom to grow.
  • If it’s true love; it’s patient.
  • Love supports; neither competes nor manipulates.
  • Teen relationships have no adult relationship responsibilities.
  • Practice zero tolerance for abuse.

Future Plans

  • It is my responsibility to discover my God-given purpose and pursue it.
  • I make a list of my goals and focus on them.
  • I avoid relationships that sabotage my goals.
  • I measure my progress at regular intervals.
  • I have the talent to achieve the success I was designed to achieve.

Final Thought

Selecting wholesome thoughts from among the 50,0002 we receive every day can be challenging but it is not impossible. Here is a good anchor thought to adopt which can help with the process.

  • “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”3

Teens who accept this message as a belief will be careful to guard their senses, especially of sight and hearing, in an effort to control their thoughts. Prayer and meditation will help them focus, and adult encouragement will help them succeed. Good thinking can be a way of life!


1. van Warmerdam, Gary: Pathway to Happiness, Emotional Security ©Pathway To Happiness LLC (visited 08/17/2014).

2. Mind-Sets: Accelerated Success Conditioning, Thoughts © 2011

3. Holy Bible: New Living Translation, Proverbs 4: 23, © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Questions & Answers

Question: How do you determine what area of faulty thinking your daughter is suffering from? My daughter is closed off and will not open up about her issues. What is a good approach to replacing misconceptions with positive anchor thoughts?

Answer: Don't assume that your daughter has faulty thinking just because she does not open up. She may be closed off because she does not know what to say about some confusing situation around her, or because of some previous traumatic experience, or because something else we do not even consider. She may even be quiet because she feels alone in subscribing to the wholesome anchor thoughts she has. I don't have all the information I need to make a judgment. Anyway, you can't go wrong by probing gently or getting professional help to assist her in expressing herself.

Without her words, you still have her attitude and actions to discern. Based on these, ask her help: "Please help me understand what you think about (something that's happening, something someone said, something she herself)?" "I'd really like to know if you're pleased or displeased with . . ." Also, if she is a teen, get some tips from another of my articles titled, "Why Is It So Difficult to Get Through to Teens?"

The start is improved communication and trust between both of you, or you would not really know what misconceptions she holds, let alone how to replace them. Meanwhile, remain daughter friendly, touch her, hug her (if she'd let you), let her feel, see and hear your love. "Love is patient" and "Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13: 4, 7) If you're a believer, let her hear you praying for her.

© 2014 Dora Weithers


Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 18, 2014:

Vocalcoach, I appreciate your visit and your comment. Thanks for sharing your cleaning and anchoring process, and for the votes.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on September 18, 2014:

For me, meditation and prayer begins the process of emptying my mind - kind of a 'cleaning house.'

Then, I replace erroneous thinking with supportive, virtuous 'anchor thoughts.' This inspiring hub is good for all of us at any age to follow. Thank you so much. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 23, 2014:

Mathi, good to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your observation and your encouragement.

mathira from chennai on August 22, 2014:


Unless you anchor your thoughts your mind runs wild and there can be no civility and decency in this world. The utter bloodshed you see in the world today is because these violent people do not have an anchor to their savage and inhuman thoughts. The need of the day hub!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 22, 2014:

Thanks, Elizabeth. You encourage me.

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on August 22, 2014:

Very unique hub with a powerful message. I enjoyed this!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 21, 2014:

Thanks, Audrey. Thought control is self-control, the experts say--good for us who are willing.

Audrey Howitt from California on August 21, 2014:

Such an interesting article! I like the idea that teens--and all of us--can change our thoughts then change our behavior!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 21, 2014:

Thanks, Flourish. Your last statement is a great summary for the idea.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 20, 2014:

The anchor thoughts concept is awesome and your examples are even better. Teens need guidance and they need positive messages to tell themselves. The messages we tell ourselves guide our behavioral choices.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 19, 2014:

Mona, you amuse me. Thanks for your very kind comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 19, 2014:

Thanks, Kaili. That Napoleon quote is in itself a great anchor thought.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on August 19, 2014:

Excellent advice. The phrase "Anchor Thoughts" clearly explains why these thoughts need to be kept in the mind of the teenager. Wish I read this 10 years earlier. But then, you hadn't written it then. I ramble. Great hub, Ms. Dora:).

Kaili Bisson from Canada on August 19, 2014:

Fabulous article. Voted up and more. And I love the quote from Napoleon Hill...says it all.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 19, 2014:

Devika, you're right about the challenge of raising teens. Instilling anchor thoughts is half the battle. Thanks for your comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 19, 2014:

Truth, anchor thoughts are the appropriate remedy for negative conduct, but they don't happen automatically. I appreciate your observation.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 19, 2014:

Thanks, Doris. Teens are on my radar right now and I just want to see us the older ones, bring the best out of them.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 19, 2014:

Thanks, Nell. So many people become parents before they figure out themselves, let alone know what to do with the children. However, the wise can always learn.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 18, 2014:

Teen love sounds so great and new. One shows their character from a young age and in this way life has a different perspective when older. Raising teens can be challenging for many parents if they don't know how to apply their thoughts.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on August 18, 2014:

There is so much negative in the world that it is a good idea for the development of anchor thoughts that are positive, especially for young people who are impressionable and easily influenced by others.

Doris H. Dancy from Yorktown, Virginia on August 18, 2014:

Wow! What an outstanding hub that teaches so many valuable lessons. Thank you for sharing something so powerful, useful, and easy to begin implementing with teens.

Nell Rose from England on August 18, 2014:

This is wonderful, its something all parents should read before they have children, we don't realise when we are young and having children that how we act, what we say and the words we use to teach them are so important, wise words, and thanks, nell

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Teaches, God bless your parents and others who are as responsible. Thank you for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Ologsinquito, I am in total agreement with your observation. Thanks for your input.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Sheila, God bless your parents and others like them who took the time to instill good anchor thoughts in the children. Thanks for sharing my hope for this hub.

Dianna Mendez on August 18, 2014:

I agree with your thoughts on this topic, Ms. Dora. Good character starts at an early age. Thoughts are what mold us, knowing which ones anchor us for good results in important. I am so thankful for parents who instilled good values in my life and taught me faith keeps me strong. Blessings. Voted up++ and sharing.

ologsinquito from USA on August 18, 2014:

This is very good advice on raising children. If they don't receive moral guidance at home, it creates a rather frightening situation. They need to be taught right from wrong, and that there are some absolute truths.

sheilamyers on August 18, 2014:

Awesome hub! I never heard of the term "anchor thoughts", but I'm happy to know my parents helped me learn many of these lessons early in life. I hope this hub helps other parents do the same for their children.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Jackie, I like the idea of a double anchor. Thanks for your valuable input.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Word, thanks for your comment. Looking forward to your hub on that verse. I'm grateful for you, too.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 18, 2014:

If we just knew how to double anchor these thoughts and decisions they would "prefer" to stick to. Too many temptations and too bad they can't have a peek at possible bad results; but guess that is what makes us individuals and no one is gonna decide for us; huh? Some very good and realistic points you make Dora. ^+

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on August 18, 2014:

This is an excellent article for teens as well as anyone else Dora, I know for a fact that if anyone (male or female) is anchored in the Lord or where's the armor of God daily then there would be no way to violate a that person. That's how God's plan for any person is set up to work. Men that need to deal with several women or conquer their bodies lose in the long run. And like this scripture says, 1 Corinthians 6:18

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. I will explain this scripture soon, in a future hub for a clear understanding. Thank you for looking out for the teens. However, I'm all grateful for you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Denise, thanks for your valuable observation. I appreciate your support.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

James, glad you stopped by and left a comment. Thanks for your input.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Bill, because we are programmed so early, we have to learn to replace faulty thoughts and beliefs when we can make sense of what we learned. Challenging but possible! Thanks for your input.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on August 18, 2014:

This is an awesome way to help our teens adopt core values that will guide their decision making process. Just calling them "anchor" thoughts gives the understanding that they will help us when the storms of life rage around us. When teens have standards like this to follow, they are able to make decisions that are for the best long-term.

Tijani Achamlal from Morocco on August 18, 2014:

Great article.Wise lady.Cute saying: The ship's anchor keeps the vessel from drifting; anchor thoughts keep the individual from wandering.

I will always remember this.Thanks for sharing! Voted up!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 18, 2014:

I was reading a book the other day, and it said that the most important lessons learned are learned in the first six years of life. Those lessons will guide our lives for the rest of our lives. That's a bit frightening to think about....we are so programmed at such an early age. Anyway, very interesting food for thought here.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Eric, getting them right at some point is better than not ever getting them right. There are so many of us who learn later than sooner. Thanks for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Faith, I can always depend on you to add to the godly perspective. I appreciate that about you, and happy to have you in my HubCircle. Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

Frank, thanks for your encouragement. Just hoping the teens themselves will benefit.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 18, 2014:

A wonderful article with a powerful message. I have spent a lifetime trying to remove the bad anchor thoughts. If only I got them right the first time.

I hope every parent reads this.


Faith Reaper from southern USA on August 18, 2014:

Excellent hub here on anchoring the thoughts of teens! I hope your message here goes far and wide to all parents of teens and to teens themselves.

Our minds are the main battlefield for the enemy who loves to whisper those false imaginations into our minds, even as adults. But if we can establish the thought pattern at a very young age, that is the key. As God tells us in His Word, we are to think on those things that our true, lovely, worthy of praise and so on. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Voted up ++++ and away

God bless you. In His Love Always

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on August 18, 2014:

what a lesson via hub.. this will help so many teens..who have low self esteem.. who have very little friends.. who want to find the right path to futures.. I like the simplicity, and the references from the bible to help bridge thoughts..MsDora.. a useful hub you have here bless you

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