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How to Raise Optimistic Children

Learn how to raise optimistic children in this Howcast video about child anxiety issues.


I'm going to talk to you about how to raise optimistic children. I think, sometimes we wonder, are they born or made? And actually it's a combination of things. Optimism, in terms of your attitude and your approach and style, is often a mixture of your disposition, your temperament, and how you just were born and some people are more cautious, and some people are more go getters. And then it's also the environment that you're raised in, as well as, your experiences.

So there's a lot that you can do to help your children do to be optimistic. One thing is, you can't protect your children from everything. So, you have to make sure that they have the skills necessary to be optimistic. And it doesn't mean just sitting around and telling your kids, "Don't worry. Be happy." Or be a Pollyanna about it. It's actually giving them skills to have the right perspective about their life. And sometimes that means understanding that this is tough but I can get through it. And is having the right attitude about what you can do. It's also having skills though, to match that attitude, so problem solving skills.

You're optimistic because you know what I've been through this or I've been through something similar. Or just because it's tough, I know I can get through it or I know how to get help. I know how to think about this. I know people I can go to, to help me figure this out. So again, it's not just an attitude but it's the action, and then the problem solving that matches that attitude. And then the other thing that you can always do, and it's key, is to model an optimistic attitude and behavior, so your kids will see how you problem solve. How you weather storms. How you manage difficult situations. And it's not, just again, putting on a smiling face, which can always help, but it's how did you get there, so you can feel it's going to be okay.

I think parents, sometimes, worry or think that the way to have an optimistic child is make sure nothing bad ever happens to them. So then, they're going to think life is terrific. But the reality is, sometimes, you have to let your kids fail or experience difficulty or make mistakes. Doesn't mean you want to set up situations where they make mistakes. It means that if they have a mistake, or make a mistake, or something goes wrong, you don't want to necessarily rush in to fix it. You want to help walk through, talk through with them, how to change it. How to think about it. How they feel about it. And then what they can do about it. So now, they have been empowered to change what happens next, and that will make them feel optimistic about their future. Rather than thinking, you're always going to fix what happens and change their future.

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