7 Ways to Raise an Optimist
As a parent, it is hard to hear your child talk negatively. It is especially difficult when you notice your child is turning into a pessimist. As parents, you play a tremendous role in whether you raise a pessimist or an optimist. If you are looking for ways to raise an optimist, you have come to the right place.
- Model It
First, you must model it. You are your child’s ultimate teacher. If your child hears you complaining often or looking at various situations pessimistically, your child will likely think the same way. For instance, when something does not go the way you planned, how do you react?
- Confront Negative Thinking
When you hear your child speak negatively about a situation, confront it. Remind your child that while it may not be turning out how he/she wants, there are still reasons to be positive. Additionally, if your child uses negative self-talk (such as “I am so stupid!”), confront it immediately. Teach your children that the way they speak to themselves affects the way they see themselves and the world around them – and it is untrue.
- Be Intentional About Positivity
Make it a regular part of your home life to speak positively. For example, be intentional about discussing the good points of your day around the dinner table. Help your children to see that while there may have been low points of the day, there were also many good points.
- Promote a “Can Do” Attitude
Encourage your children to try new things. To have a positive attitude about possibilities, they must take chances. Promote a “can do” attitude rather than sheltering them from potential failures. This idea will build their self-confidence and help them face the world with a positive attitude rather than a pessimistic attitude where they believe they are incapable or the world is against them.
- Comfort Them When They Struggle
When they do face hardships, listen to them and comfort them. Acknowledge their feelings, but be sure to help them remain hopeful.
- Affirm Them
Instead of focusing on their struggles, affirm them. Find ways to praise them on a daily basis. If they fail, look for ways to honor the things they did do well. Speak words of encouragement and identify their strengths. Encourage them to look for positive qualities in others rather than the negative ones.
- Read Books That Encourage Optimism
There are several books which teach children to be optimistic. For example, Beautiful Oops! By Barney Saltzberg shows children to find the beauty in their mistakes. It is an excellent way to teach children to look at the world and our mistakes through the lens of optimism.
While it is normal to feel down on occasion, it is better to look on the bright side. As studies show, those people that see their “glass half full” tend to be happier and healthier than those who see their “glass half empty.” As parents, you must make every effort to see the glass half full and teach your children to do the same.