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Positive Thinking for Kids

by Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Kid Cooperation 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:

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.

Copyright Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

About the Author:
Elizabeth Pantley is the author of several books, including
Gentle Baby Care : No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry — Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby, The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, Kid Cooperation (with an introduction by William Sears, MD), Perfect Parenting, as well as her latest The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and is also president of Better Beginnings, Inc. She is a popular speaker on family issues, and her newsletter, Parent Tips, is seen in schools nationwide. She appears as a regular radio show guest, and has been quoted in Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, American Baby, Working Mother, and Woman’s Day magazines. Visit Elizabeth’s web site

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