Raising An Optimistic Kid

They should feel like they can bring positive change to their life and the world.

  • Pointing out the joys in little moments for your children to see

Suicides, cyberbullying, murders, natural disasters and more. It’s hard for kids not to be full of doom, gloom and pessimism after exposure to today’s often depressing 24-hour news cycle. Despite all the negativity around them, it’s important that kids maintain a positive and optimistic attitude. You want them to believe that good things will happen in their future and for them to be confident that everything will work out. They should feel like they can bring positive change to their life and the world.

That’s where you as a parent can take matters into your own hands. Help your kids think optimistically and see the glass as half full. This positive thinking will help them weather life’s storms. Here are a few tips you can put into practice to help brighten your child’s outlook.

Focus on effort, not achievement.
Praise with a purpose. Reinforce the idea that success comes from hard work. You can say, “I know that project was difficult. I’m so glad you stuck with it.” Avoid saying, “You’re so smart. You got an A.” Otherwise, he’ll think that if he gets a B, he isn’t smart.

Manage your media.
Tune out the world for a while. Hang together and shut everything else down. Be with one another—reading, playing, enjoying a device-free dinner. You’re showing your kids the importance of family. And you’re giving them a break from being overwhelmed by everything that’s happening in the world.

Watch your reaction to the world.
Monitor your response to the news to help put things in perspective to your children. Think what you say to your spouse or partner in front of them about something going on in politics or what you read about a celebrity. Consider what news items you do tell them about. Doing so will help lessen kids’ fears and make them more hopeful.

Focus on the good in the world.
We sometimes focus more on the bad than the good in the world. You tell your spouse about that nasty salesperson at the mall’s food court but forget to mention the sweet barista at the local coffee shop. However, the more you focus on the negativity in life, the more frustrated and angry you’ll feel. Promote optimism in your kids by asking them about the goodness that they experience. Over dinner or while tucking them in at bedtime, have them share something good that happened to them that day. Ask, “How did you feel when that happened?” or “What did you like about that good thing?” You’ll help train them to notice the positivity that surrounds them in the world.

Discuss what you’re grateful for.
I want this! Gimme that! Feeling like the kids are ungrateful? It’s important that kids appreciate what they have. A study found that grateful teens are also more likely to be happy, well-behaved and hopeful at school. One way to do that? Teach kids to say thank you. Little ones can say “thank you” as part of a full sentence. “Thank you, Daddy, for taking me to ballet class.” School-aged kids can thank people like coaches after sports practice.

Stop moaning and groaning.
Are you always complaining about traffic or that you’ll never to make it to school on time? Do you obsesses about how you can’t afford a bigger house or that you can’t stand your boss? If everything coming out of your mouth is negative, your kids may do the same. Instead, speak in a positive way. Say, “A nice woman checked me out at the grocery store” or “My boss loved the idea I talked with her about today.” Got home too late to make dinner? Don’t be so hard on yourself. Enjoy ordering in some pizzas and still eating together as a family. Seeing the glass as half full will help your kids do the same.

What about you? Do you have any great tips to share?


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