Change is always difficult, especially when you are trying to alter an attitude that is a well-used habit. Be on the alert for those times your child does utter optimism. If you're not looking for the behavior, you may well miss those moments when your child is trying a new approach.Whenever you do hear optimism, acknowledge your child's effort. Just make sure to remind him what he said that was optimistic and why you appreciate the comment:
"Kara, I know how difficult your spelling tests have been. But saying you think you'll do better was being so optimistic. I'm sure you'll do better because you've been studying so hard."
"Sam, it pleases me that you said you'll try your best to tie your shoes by yourself.Way to be positive!"
The First 21 Days
Initiate a Power of Positive Thinking Campaign in your family so everyone, and especially your kid with the pessimistic attitude, can learn positive statements to say inside their head to counter negative thoughts. This campaign will build confidence, and help everyone handle adversity as well. Here are a few positive thoughts to try—or ask your kid to create his own:
"It doesn't have to be perfect."
"No big deal; everyone makes mistakes."
"Believe, believe, and you will achieve." "Don't worry; it'll turn out okay." "I'll never know unless I try." "I can be calm and in control."
You might write the one or two most effective ones on a card so your kid can carry it in his pocket, make a tape recording of the phrase to play over and over, or turn it into a song for a young child to sing. If your kid keeps practicing for twenty-one days, he will acquire a new habit to curb pessimism, and that will last a lifetime.
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