optimismEven though we often hear that many children go through a period where they seem moody, it is important that we ensure optimal emotional health. Nobody is happy all the time but generally, being an optimistic person helps children and teens to be more successful, healthy and happy.

Here are some tips to help you:

(1) Ensure that there are no major problems:

While optimism is the goal,  sometimes brooding can indicate a serious issue such as bullying, friendship problems, health issues or academic challenges in school. Talk to your child and make sure there aren’t any elephants in the room that need to be addressed. Really listen to what you child says and, if warranted, work on a solution together.

(2) Talk about the positive:

Ask each person to talk about one positive event that happened each day. It doesn’t need to be grand, just honest. Whether they mention how they scored on a test or a compliment they received from a friend, allow your family to focus on it for a moment. You can also have your children share something that made them unhappy that day so that they aren’t keeping negative emotions inside. Make sure you are sharing your “roses” and “thorns” as well and incorporate what you are grateful for that day.

(3) Praise the positive behavior:

Sometimes, when we recognize positive behavior (even when it’s not done with a smile), children internalize it. Genuine recognition and praise can influence positive emotions. Many young people don’t feel that adults “notice” them. Make sure they know that you do.

(4) Help your child take positive action towards his goals:

Personal achievements in areas that your child truly values can help him feel good about himself. Work with him on setting personal goals, benchmarks and plans as well as ways to celebrate successes once goals are achieved.

Like anything, an optimistic attitude needs to be practiced so it can become a habit. Encourage everyone in your family to be aware of their own attitude and to look on the bright side!

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