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Parenting: 2 Strategies for Raising Kids with Optimistic Characters
By Jean Tracy, MSS
To raise a powerful thinker with an optimistic character you'll need to work with his words, pictures and actions. As the parent, you are the coach. Let's find out in step-by-step detail what you can do.
First, imagine a gigantic movie screen in your mind. It replays your failures, the put-downs you've received and the problems you couldn't solve. We all own such a screen. It dominates the front of our brains. What we replay on it can lift us up or plunge us downward.
Now imagine your child's movie screen. He replays the put-downs he's received, his failures and the problems he couldn't solve. He accepts them and blames himself for being "dumb" or for not being "good enough." These negative images and words lower his self-esteem. So how can you help?
Discuss this movie screen with your child. Explain that some children see upsetting movies of themselves. They tell themselves upsetting words from what they see like:
1. I'm no good.
2. I'm a failure.
3. I can't.
Ask your child how he'd feel if he played such pictures and words over and over in his mind. Chances are he might say "weak, sad, discouraged, or angry."
Winning the Struggle with Thoughts:
Discouraging words and pictures strike us through the heart. When we believe them, their power overwhelms us. We think badly of ourselves.
Tell your child, "Negative pictures and words are just thoughts. You can strike back. You can defeat them. You can fight pictures with new pictures and words with new words."
Two Character Building Strategies:
Let's say you've already discussed how important it is to tackle upsetting thoughts and bring them down. You've gotten his suggestions on how he'd do it. You've listened well.
Ask him if he's open to more ideas that could make him a powerful thinker? If he says "Yes", then explain these strategies:
1. Pick Powerful Words that Command:
Tell him to scan his movie screen whenever he's feeling upset. If he wants to be a powerful thinker, ask him to stop the screen with strong power words like:
1.) Stop! I don't want these thoughts.
2.) Go away!
2. Choose Powerful Actions:
If he isn't alone and can't yell at the thoughts, "Go Away!" he can take action.
1.) Clench Fists ~
Suggest he clench his fists while demanding his thoughts stop with the word "No!" The goal is to turn off the negative movie. It will be a secret message to him to "snap out of it." No one else will know what he's saying and doing.
Other actions to change the movie might include Curling His Toes Tightly or Pulling in His Tummy and Holding his Breath while yelling inside his head a command like "Stop!" No one will notice these secret words and actions.
2.) Switching the Picture~
Tell him to think of one negative screen shot he'd like to conquer. Then ask him to give you 3 powerful pictures that are stronger than his negative thought. He might have trouble at first. Tell him to guess. He might say:
1.) When I hit a home run.
2.) When I raised my hand in school and answered correctly.
3.) When the family laughed at my joke.
It could be anything. It doesn't have to be powerful to you. He's a child. It has to be powerful to him. If a picture doesn't work, then have him search for a stronger positive picture.
Now have him practice putting the new word and the new picture together while conquering the negative thought of his choice. Tell him to yell one powerful word and switch to the powerful picture almost at the same time. Explain that this will help him become a powerful thinker because he'll be conquering his negative thoughts.
Conclusion: Raising a Powerful Thinker with an Optimistic Character:
Be your child's best coach. Discuss these step-by-step directions with him. Get his suggestions too. They might be just what he needs to do. Help him turn off the negative and turn on the positive with strong words, actions and positive pictures. If you do, he'll become powerful thinker and an optimistic person with a strong character.
Jean Tracy, MSS, publishes a FREE Parenting Newsletter. Subscribe and receive 80 fun activities to share with your children.
Pick up Jean's Thought-Stopping Kit and teach your child how to change any disturbing thought in step-by-step detail. This skill will help him throughout his life.