Raising Positive Thinkers
Raising a child who thinks positively is one key to success that's often overlooked. We may focus on homework, grades and sports (and all of those things are wonderful), but without a positive outlook, every single one of those things becomes more of a challenge.
Don't believe me?
Well, who do you think would be more successful?
a) The person who believes he can achieve anything, become whomever he wants, follows up with swift action, and can breeze past mistakes and start over, or:
b) The person who complains about anything, is indifferent about everything, and gets nothing done out of feelings of hopelessness and failure.
But just how can we go about raising kids who think more like the former rather than the latter?
There are many things we can do each day to foster a positive outlook in our kids. Here are some of our tips:
1. It all starts with us. From a young age, our children pick up on more than we know. While we may live by the notion that we should always put our kids first, we also have to balance that with our own self-development. Because, when we think positively, so will our kids.
2. Keep ourselves in check. Just as with leading by example, we must watch our reactions, especially when things go awry. If someone gets hurt or we learn some bad news, we need to fight the urge to have a negative reaction. If we yell or outwardly worry, we'll affect your children. Here are some ideas for stress management for the entire family.
- We can teach our children that sometimes things don't go our way, but eventually the tides will turn. Also, we can allow them to hear us “talk ourselves through” tough times. For example: “Oh, this is tough. I’m going to take a few breaths and figure out what to do. I’ll handle this. I’ll get through this!” The goal is not to deny difficult feelings, the goal is to acknowledge them and deal with them effectively! That’s a game-changer!
3. Silver linings. As our children learn and develop, they'll be faced with all sorts of challenges. Some of them will be easy, while others…not so much. We can point out the silver linings in any challenge our child may be facing. We can start doing this when our children are very young. This can really give kids a leg-up on dealing with disappointment and help them start to see alternative ways of looking at the same problem.
4. Thought makeover. When our child is in the midst of a tough challenge, such as being overwhelmingly sad, he may mention the idea of giving up. That's where we come in! Perhaps there's an angle to the problem that our child hasn't tried yet. Our kids rely on us to give them a fresh perspective.
- We can nudge them in the right direction until they find the success they seek, or arm them with new coping tools to better manage tough moments.
5. Promote laughter. Laughter breeds happiness and positive feelings. Our children will each have a unique sense of humor. We can play into that by promoting situations that your child finds funny.
- We can play games, go to shows, or simply have a good time together as a family.
A Happy Healthy Home
When we remember to treat our children in a calm and loving manner, they'll be more likely to do the same with others. If your child tends to panic, don't scold them for this behavior. Put them at ease as best as you can and show them that there's a solution to their problem. If you panic, the situation can quickly spiral into an unhealthy cycle. If you have trouble managing your own reactions, I highly recommend you check out BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids (Spring 2015). It’s a game-changer.
In the end, there's no right or wrong way to raise your kids. Do what's best for your family in the way you know how. When you maintain a happy and healthy home, your children will learn to have hope and think positively! That’s a gift that will last a lifetime!