Kids have this innate ability to see the good in everything, but there will be times, as they’re figuring out that life comes with struggles, that they can grow to be disheartened. As a parent, how can you make sure this occasional pessimism doesn’t pervade their mindset and become a permanent attitude?
Here are a few simple ways.
1. Don’t force them to change
As soon as your baby becomes a toddler, they learn the word ‘No!’ and to explore their ability to make choices. Embrace their process, advises Empowering Parents, and don’t try to change your child. Forcing them to smile, for instance, could have the opposite effect. Older school aged kids need to assert their independence. They need to be able to work through negative emotions in a healthy way, in order to open up to a more positive way of thinking.
2. Don’t judge them
Get to know them. Be careful not to parent an idealized version of your child. Do not judge them for feeling upset, or throwing tantrums, these are ways for them to work through overwhelming new emotions. In order for them to grow up more positive, they need to feel supported, heard, and valued.
3. Think before you speak
Before you react to a complaint or an offending statement from your child, reflect on your reaction. Will it be constructive or will it cause further damage to their view on life?
For example, if your child is expressing disappointment at being scolded by a teacher, don’t shut them out by saying that they shouldn’t have done anything worth being scolded for. Hear them out without “negating their negativity,” which can be a harmful cycle.
4. Let them rant within limits
Kids should be allowed to voice out negative emotions in order for you to guide them on how to deal with it. Complaining is healthy, but parents can teach kids to be careful and set time limits on ranting sessions. Venting frustration can be cathartic, but overdoing could form bad habits that would be hard to break when they get older.
Raising a positive child does not mean he has to see the life as rainbows and butterflies, it means that she is able to form strength of character that will help her be positive despite life’s struggles.
READ: How to raise a child who doesn’t give up (no matter how tough life gets)
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