Raising an optimistic child not only benefits the child—who is less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression—but your whole family and the larger community. Optimism comes from confidence and confident children are more likely to try again after a setback and to be willing to do their share.
The most effective way parents can promote optimism in a child derives from your responsibility as a role model. In most cases, children will act as they see you act. If one missed promotion causes you to despair at ever having a successful career, your child is more likely to feel that one missed kick eliminates soccer forever. If you don’t try to overcome setbacks, why should your children?
Learning to Master Situations
Redirecting situations from disappointment to enjoyment:
Even 3 to 5 year olds can, with your help, exert some control. For example:
Involve your child in activities that offer an opportunity to master new skills and contribute to family life, such as helping to feed the pets or clean the garage. This builds a child’s faith in his or her own ability and a can-do attitude. Role-playing, with the child getting to play the mother, father, or teacher, also teaches social mastery.
Accentuate the Positive
Avoid frequent use of negative words like no, don’t, stop
Use humor and laughter
As your child ages, you may need to tone down excessive optimism or feelings of invulnerability to teach your child to avoid risky behavior. Try to keep a positive approach that emphasizes the possible.
Last updated August 8, 2015