The way parents look at things – with optimism or pessimism – will eventually be the way their child looks at things; so by teaching your kid to be an optimist you’re helping him handle life situations more successfully.
You have got a glass of water at your desk: Is it half empty or half full?
A half-empty glass on your desk implies that you see things pessimistically; if it is half full, you are more of an optimist. Why is this important? Optimism is important for both your own and your children’s health and well-being. Research shows that the way you look at things – optimistically or pessimistically – will eventually be the way your child looks at things.
Every family will face hard times. Every person will come up against an issue. Being an optimistic parent will not only help you handle the situations more successfully, but it will also help your child do the same, according to the studies.
What Is Optimism?
Optimism is a tendency towards looking on a more favorable side of conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome. It is the belief that good ultimately prevails over evil in the world.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who spent 166 days in space, now spreads positive messages about optimism across our planet. Hadfield recently reflected on the state of our world in a video he uploaded to YouTube shortly before we welcomed 2015:
In his year-end message, Hadfield hoped to promote optimism, saying:
Our world is not as bad a place as we often feel it to be. It is easy to look to the future and lament how far there is left to go, but sometimes it is helpful to stop and reflect on just how far we’ve come. Our world is a better place than we often claim it to be.
Parents have one of the toughest jobs in the world and they face tough obstacles each day (when it comes to their children, work, society, economics, relationships, etc.). But it is important that they face all obstacles with an optimistic and positive outlook, rather than lament the issues.
Benefits of Optimism
Research shows that optimists, people who believe they can achieve success, are in fact more able to do so. Other benefits of positive thinking include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of stress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Isn’t optimism, a trait with the abovementioned benefits, something that we would want to pass down to our children?
How to Help Your Child Become More Optimistic
We all know children are like sponges when experiencing the world around them, among other things modeling their behavior and reactions to that of their parents. The way a parent talks and reacts to issues often become a child’s inner voice.
Here are some ways parents can help their children become more optimistic:
- Notice how your child thinks: Do they see the glass half empty or half full? How do they react when something bad happens?
- Talk about pessimism: If your child makes comments that show they think bad things will happen, talk to them about it. Show them the good side of things. Explain them that things can change. Also tell them your personal side of things and how you would have handled a situation.
- Teach optimism: Yes, bad things do happen, but it’s how we react to these bad things that define our level of optimism. Help your child see that they can change a bad situation. Tell them what they can do.
- Model optimism: Your child looks up to you, so if you are not exuding optimism, they will notice it. Make light of bad situations and turn negatives into positives.
We have all been guilty of thinking negatively that everything is terrible and that there may be no way things can get better, from time to time. But let’s try to remember what Hadfield said in his message: “Our world is a better place than we often claim it to be.” Look at situations more positively and remember that we are blessed and lucky to have what we already have. We should think optimistically for our own sake, as well as for the sake of our children.