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The Positive Child - 18 Top Parenting Tips and Tools

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If your child smiles a lot, chances are he's a positive thinker. But if he pouts, his gloomy face, down-turned lips, and sullen frowns reveal his darker thoughts. Can you help him change? Certainly!

In this article, you'll find 5 toxic thinking behaviors to overcome, 6 behaviors to promote in yourself, 7 positive activities to teach your kids, and a children's poem to discuss with your youngsters.

5 Poisonous Thinking Habits

1. Does your child choose the dark side?

Yes, if she repeats “I can't” thoughts. She might whine and say, “It's too hard.” She'll look for “I can't” reasons to get out of trying. As a result, she'll lose 100% of the opportunities she doesn't take. It will be difficult to turn her beliefs around and it can be done.

2. Does your child focus on his mistakes?

Perhaps he exaggerates his failures because he fears taking small steps to improve. Tiny steps are little risks. They help children advance. Without risking, growth is doubtful and success impossible. Are there actions you can take to help him. Absolutely!

3. Does your child use general words to make a negative statement?

If she attaches sweeping words like “all,” "every time,” “always,” and “never” to her negative statements, she may say:

1.) “All the kids hate me.”
2.) “Every time I take a math test, I fail.”
3.) “You always make me do the most chores.”
4.) “I never win.”

This is called generalization. Many people use these words. Almost always their statements are false exaggerations. Listen for them in yourself and your child. Challenge them and change them by asking, “Is this true?”

4. Does your child reject compliments?

When your child refuses to accept praise, and changes it to a personal criticism, he might be using deletion. He deletes your kind comment and focuses on the opposite in himself.

Mom: “You caught the ball. Good job!”
Child: “Just because I caught the ball doesn't mean I'm any good at sports.”
Ask him, “How would changing my praise into criticism help you?”

5. Does your child turn problems into mountains?

If your child overstates and inflates difficulties, she might be acting helpless. This could be her way of getting you to take over the problem. If you do, you'll be acting like she really is helpless. She won't be learning to rely on herself to solve the inconveniences of life.

You can help your child change negative thinking into positive mindsets. Focusing on the dark-side of mistakes, failures, personal criticism, and problems is not easy to overcome but it can be done. Don't give up! Your child needs your patience and your guidance.

6 Parent Behaviors to Promote in Yourself and Your Kids:

Being a positive model for children is such an opportunity for personal growth. Here are some helpful suggestions that can improve your own life:

1. Realize when you are in a dark mood.
2. Pay attention to the thoughts that encourage this mood. Ask, ‘What am I telling myself?' Write down your answers. Look at them objectively. Ask, ‘What helpful thoughts can I tell myself instead?'
3. Check your feelings and ask, ‘How am I making myself sad, angry, fearful, anxious, or guilty?'
4. Challenge your thoughts and feelings by asking, ‘How are they affecting my behavior?' and 'Is this the way I want to act?' and ‘How can I change them to help me?'
5. Choose better thoughts and feelings. Focus on them. When the negative thoughts and feelings return, refocus on your better ones. Don't give up.
6. Share this process with your child. Tell him what thoughts and feelings you had (if appropriate) and how you changed them from negative to positive attitudes.

7 Activities to Promote Positive Mindsets in Kids

1. The Morning Forecast – Each morning, ask your child to name a positive event he is looking forward to that day.
2. The Gratitude Review – Each night ask, “What happened today that you're grateful for?”
3. The Family Compliments - At dinner once a week ask each member to draw another's name and write a specific compliment for that person. During the meal have each member read aloud the praise they wrote.
4. Family Discussion – Talk about “all or nothing” words like ‘always,' ‘everyone,' and ‘never' and how they stop people from trying. Ask for examples in their own lives.
5. The Smile Experiment – Give your child a blank card and ask her to count the number of times she smiled at another person each day. Do this for a week. Did anyone smile back? Discuss the results.
6. The Family Laugh - Get kids' jokes from the internet. Put one under each napkin and share at dinnertime once a week. Or just start laughing and tell everyone to join in. See what happens.
7. The Bright Side Discussion – Use the following poem to help your children choose positive thinking. Post it on the fridge, and use the motto “Let's look on the bright side” often.

On the Bright Side!

Judging others to bring them down,
Gives your face an ugly frown.
Expand your heart to open wide.
And live your life on the brighter side.

Negative thoughts push friends away.
Positive minds get them to stay.
Let smiles and laughter be your guide.
And you will live on the bright side.

Moaning and groaning poison your mind.
But being cheerful and being kind,
Will help your friends feel good inside,
So, act with joy on the bright side.

Excuses, blaming and acting cross,
Drive folks away. It's such a loss.
Encourage others. Don't deride.
Love and live on the bright side.
Jean Tracy, MSS

Discuss how negative thinking, a dark cloud that holds us back from making friends, hurts our chances of success and makes us feel gloomy. Positive thinking, a light and cheerful feeling, attracts friends, success, and feels good.

Conclusion for Raising Positive Children

Change any toxic mindsets you may have, model a positive attitude, use the 7 activities with your children, and repeat the motto, “Let's look on the bright side” often. If you do, you'll be building character and raising a happy family who will become a positive influence in the world.


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