By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate and Perfect Parenting
During their growth and development, children go through many stages of self-doubt. They are always comparing themselves to others, and they often see themselves as coming up short. As parents, we can offset this natural tendency in our children by giving them the skills to think more positively. It is important that you really listen to your children, and help them overcome their negative thoughts and beliefs. This is, of course, easier to do if you practice positive thinking yourself.
Our world is so full of negative feedback. We need to arm our children with a positive attitude, so that they can stay focused in the right direction. Let’s look at some typical negative statements from children, along with some positive responses from their wise parents:
I can’t do it.
Take your time and try again. I have confidence in you.
Heather hates me.
Sounds like you’re feeling rejected by Heather, and that must hurt. I know you want Heather to like you. Remember that you’re a very lovable kid and a terrific person, no matter what Heather, or anyone else, says or does. And, you know, she may have a problem that has nothing to do with you.
I’m just no good in history.
You’ve brought up Cs before—I know you can do it again. Besides that, honey, nobody is good at everything. And look at this A in math, you’ve always done well with numbers!
I’m so clumsy. I’ll never learn to rollerblade!
It’s tough learning something new. Remember when you first tried to ski, how hard it was? But you stuck with it, and now you’re really good at skiing.
There is real value in discussing positive thinking and self-esteem with your children on a regular basis. Sadly, these subjects are not yet included in the school curriculum. There are good books written for children, as well as adults, which demonstrate the use of positive thinking. Reading a book together is a good launching pad for starting a conversation. Pointing out positive versus negative attitudes from news stories or life stories is an excellent way of showing your children just how this all works in real life, too.
A great web site for finding lots of wonderful positive messages is: http://greatday.com
Modeling a positive attitude is one of the most effective ways of teaching your children. Children learn what they live. So start presenting your thoughts in a positive way, Oh well, I burned the dinner—guess that means we get to eat cereal for dinner!
Parents always hope that their children will have a positive outlook on life, but most often how this happens is left to chance. When you take this matter into your hands, and look for ways to guide your children’s thoughts in a positive direction, you will see very exciting results.
Excerpted with permission by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. (http://www.newharbinger.com/) from Kid Cooperation, How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate by Elizabeth Pantley (http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth, copyright 1996)