May 20, 2010

Raising Optimistic Kids

One way to help your children develop Realistic Optimism is to help them notice the good in the world around them.
Karen Reivich, Ph.D.

In raising kids, much of our focus as parents is on their education.  We want them to do well in school so that they will have opportunities and eventually be able to lead productive lives as adults.  But developing their intellects is just one piece of helping our children grow into happy, healthy adults.   In the recent documentary movie, "The Race to Nowhere," a spotlight was placed on our culture's focus on achievement over happiness and the devastating effects this focus is having on our children's mental and emotional health.  One way to combat the ultra-competitive culture and stress we and our kids face daily is to "stop and smell the roses."  I believe getting outside in nature is a great way to combat worries, bad news, hectic schedules, and the stress that can permeate our lives.   Teaching our kids optimism starts with working on being optimistic ourselves.   Pointing out a beautiful sunset, taking a walk at dusk, going on a family bike ride, and looking at the stars are just a few ideas of how we as parents can steer our kids towards noticing the beauty and good that is in the world.  If you want to read more about raising optimistic kids, I encourage you to visit the "Fishful Thinking" website: "Fishful Thinking" Optimism Articles.

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