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May 23, 2018 Wednesday 03:18:14 PM IST

Raise Your Kid as an Optimist

Parent Interventions

Keeping optimistic attitude is a very tough task. Optimism is something that should be deeply rooted in a child's character. Here are some tips to raise the child an optimistic one.

1. Quit complaining:

Focusing on negative thoughts and frustrations, though, is classic pessimism. The more you moan about money problems or a tough day at work, the more likely it is that your kids 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. Letting them do small chores as a routine will help them in developing a positive attitude. Let them be proud of their own little achievements.

3. Encourage reasonable risk-taking.

We all struggle with how much to try to protect our kids from getting (or feeling) hurt. It’s embarrassing to fall off the monkey bars in front of your friends or join an ice-hockey league when you don’t know how to skate, so it’s natural to want to shield your child from these types of situations. But discouraging him from doing an activity because he might not be as skilled as other kids undermines his confidence—and encourages pessimism to seep in.

You’ve simply got to start letting go of the reins. Allow your kindergartner to play alone in the backyard or go on a school field trip without you as a chaperone. Over time, build up to bigger risks, like climbing the rock wall at a fair or going to sleep-away camp. 

4. Wait before reacting:

When your child is trying to sound out a new word or taking a long time to fit a piece into a puzzle, it’s easy to quickly intervene. But letting your child try to solve things without your help will boost his/her sense of accomplishment and also make her more optimistic about what he/she can do in the future.

5. Embrace the struggle:

While doing a worksheet, it's quite natural for the kid to utter things like “I’m bad at math!” or that “I’m not smart.” “I stink at this.” “I can’t draw.” etc. To prevent those types of conclusions, try to change your child’s perspective. 

To re-frame the child's thoughts more positively, you might say, “New sports are hard to learn at first,” or “I know you can’t tell time yet, but you will.” And let the child know he/she is not the only one (“Lots of kids in your class are feeling as frustrated as you are,” or “I had a tough time when I started learning subtraction too”). Help the child stay hopeful by mentioning another skill he/she worked to master earlier: “Remember when you couldn’t read and how much effort that took? You’ll get this too.”

6. Keep it real:

When the child complaints about something, do not give him an exaggerated answer. If he/she is saying that he/she doesn't have any friends in new school. It's natural for the parent to say "When the kids here find out what an awesome guy you are, they’re going to beg to be your friend!". Instead you can say that “Making friends takes time.” This will be more realistic and will save the child from the dilemma when he think that nobody befriends him because he is not "amazing".