12 tips to raise an optimist

If you’re raising children today, it can be easy to focus on the negative, especially with the constant media stream coming from all directions. Helping children see the positive in the world today is more important than ever. Research shows that optimists, who believe they can achieve success, are in fact more able to do so. They are less likely to get depressed, get fewer illnesses, have longer relationships, and live longer.

Here are 12 tips to help your children develop a positive outlook on life.

  1. Quit complaining. Focusing on negative thoughts and frustrations is classic pessimism. The more you moan about troubles at work, money problems, etc. the more likely it is that your children will learn to do the same thing. Instead, try talking about things that go right.
  2. Have high expectations. Kids won’t develop an optimistic, “can-do” attitude unless they have the opportunity to prove their worth.
  3. Encourage reasonable risk-taking. Discouraging your children from doing activities because they might not be as skilled as other children can undermine their confidence.
  4. Wait before reacting. Let your children try to solve things without your help. This will boost their sense of accomplishment and also make them more optimistic about what they can do in the future.
  5. Be realistic and honest, even in difficult situations. For example, if your child is having a difficult time making friends at a new school, empathize with him/her, but explain that making friends takes time and he/she needs to take active steps to meet other kids and make friends.
  6. Show your children you love them. Make time for them every day and use words and affection to show you care.
  7. Be a positive role model. Your children will mimic your behaviors, so make sure you show them constructive ways of dealing with life’s challenges and misfortunes.
  8. Allow your child to experience success. For example, give them age-appropriate tasks around the house and praise them for their efforts.
  9. Teach practical skills with patience and humor. Help your child to keep up with peers – for example, tying shoelaces, using cutlery and managing the toilet.
  10. Listen to their problems. Take concerns seriously and be supportive as they learn how to cope with life’s hurts and disappointments.
  11. Point out the ‘silver lining’ in every cloud. Get your child into the habit of looking for the positives, even times where it may only seem like the chance to learn from a mistake.
  12. Make happy events a regular part of your family life.

 

Help is available. For additional information, visit MagellanHealth.com/MYMH

 

Sources: Parents.com, Better Health Channel

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