Being able to see a silver lining in every cloud is not an ability that every individual is born with. But, every parent should strive to teach their child the art of brimming with optimism.
While the virtues of optimism have been known to mankind since long ago, many recent scientific studies have also highlighted its various benefits. In their article, ‘Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being’, published in the Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health (2010), Conversano et al say, “Optimism may significantly influence mental and physical well-being by the promotion of a healthy lifestyle as well as by adaptive behaviours and cognitive responses, associated with greater flexibility, problem-solving capacity and a more efficient elaboration of negative information.”
Let’s look at some of the ways you can foster a positive attitude in your child.
- Develop a balanced approach towards life: Success and failure are a part of life. While children are filled with joy when they achieve success in whatever they set out to do, they feel equally disappointed when they fail in their attempts. To help your child learn to deal with both success and failure in a balanced way, allow her to do things by herself. Attempting and failing and attempting again will help her understand that with perseverance, she can achieve success and shouldn’t get disheartened by failure.
- Focus on the brighter side: We all go through both good and bad times. When your child experiences a bad day, teach him how he can brighten himself up by thinking about the positive outcomes from the negative experiences. For example, if your child had a busy day at school and shows signs of stress, you can tell him that instead of feeling worn down, he should draw inspiration from how much he was able to accomplish.
- Allow your child to fight her own battle: Most parents tend to be protective of their young ones. As a result, they restrict their children from doing a lot of things, which they feel may be risky. Parents shouldn’t raise their children in a protective bubble as it can have a negative impact on children. Allowing children to handle responsibilities helps them learn the ways of the world, teaches them that they have control over their surroundings and builds their confidence. This makes them adopt an optimistic outlook.
- Listen to your child: Everyone wants to be heard. It makes them feel better and valued. Talking out what is on the mind also helps to let out negativity and replace it with hope. So, when your child wants to talk to you about something, do not brush her away for want of time. Make time for her and listen to what she has to say. Listening to your child goes a long way in helping her open up and share what she has on her mind. It also helps to strengthen the parent–child bond.
- Teach patience: One of the most important attributes of an optimistic individual is patience. Teach your child early on to be patient even under trying circumstances. One of the ways you can teach patience to your child is by making him wait for some time before granting his request and by making him work for what he wants.
- Shower genuine praise: Everyone likes a dose of praise. It helps us cheer up and feel confident. Children are no different from adults when it comes to seeking praise. However, praise your child’s efforts only when she has accomplished something or has achieved a goal she had set for herself. Praising your child for the wrong reasons can have adverse effects.
Staying optimistic can help us change the course of our lives as it fills us with hope and encourages us to persevere against the trials and tribulations that life throws towards us. So, help your child overcome his pessimistic attitude and diffidence by teaching him how to stay optimistic.
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