Facing Your Own Bad Attitudes

Have you ever been depressed or felt hopeless? Do you consider yourself an optimistic, positive individual or more pessimistic and cynical? Would your closest friends agree with your verdict? What about your kids? For instance, do you generally look for the good or bad in a bleak situation? How do you typically deal with setbacks and failures?

Kids are not born pessimistic, so where is your kid acquiring this attitude? From siblings, friends, neighbors, relatives, or you? Kids listen to, watch, and copy our reactions. What might your kid be copying? Here are a few situations to help you consider if you are more optimistic or pessimistic:

• A tragic world event is flashed on TV Do you say that there may well be a catastrophic outcome—or express your view that world leaders will be able to solve it?

• You have been dealt a financial setback. Do you express your concerns that you will suffer severe losses that you might never recoup—or offer encouragement that you'll be able to make ends meet?

• You and your best friend had a tiff. Do you blame your friend for causing the friction—or convey that the two of you will work things through and remain friends?

• Your kid comes home with a bad report card in math. Do you tell her not to worry because women in your family were never good in math—or brainstorm a plan to help your daughter improve her grade because you know she's capable?

• An elderly friend is seriously ill. Do you express your concerns that your friend may never recover—or state your belief that she'll improve because of her tough spirit and the excellent medical care she is receiving?

What is the first step you need to take in yourself to be a better example to your sons or daughters of dealing with their pessimistic behavior? Write down changes you need to make.

I will_

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