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Teach Your Child the Effects of Positive Thinking

Mind precedes created things;
Mind’s their chief, from mind they spring.

- From the Dhammapadda, Chapter 1

The power of our thoughts has been recognized for centuries. For better or worse, out thoughts determine who we become and what we manifest during our earthly stay. Helping our children to understand this truth adds awareness and intention to the power they already possess as thinking beings.

How can you help your child grow up knowing the power of thought, and especially the power of positive thought? Some ideas follow:

  • Keep your thoughts and words gentle, be deliberately positive.
  • Speak kindly of all family members and friends.
  • Approach your work with enthusiasm. Curtail complaining in favor of problem-solving.
  • Speak the language of hope and affirmation. Say “I will” and “I can” often!
  • Smile a lot! Laugh at yourself and allow others to laugh with you.
  • Inspire positive regard for people who may be different in one way or another. Find value in everyone you meet.
  • Let your child know how wonderful they are. Often!
  • Frame correction in positive terms. “Chairs are for sitting” rather than “Don’t stand up in that chair.”
  • Use courtesy in your interchange with others. Be an example of respect and sincerity.

Preschool

Babies come into the world with no worry, doubt or lack of self-esteem. Preserving the “clean slate” is impossible, as babies are about the business of perceiving, making connections and deriving meaning from the events and relationships around them.

Handling babies and young children gently, helping them feel secure in your care is a good starting place. Singing and speaking in soft positive tones soothes even the most ruffled baby. Letting them know they are valued will be the foundation for positive self-esteem.

As your child grows, have faith in their ability to learn and perform challenging things. “You can do it!” goes a long way. There is no need to push. Encourage while respecting developmental readiness.

Preschoolers need to be prepared to deal with many kinds of children when they go to school. Play experiences will hopefully include playtime with kids of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and ethnicities.

Main points to address:

  • Babies learn to be positive or negative from the big people they grow up with.
  • Being handled with respect and gentleness will set the foundation for positive self-image.
  • Have confidence in your toddler’s ability to do challenging things.
  • Help your preschooler appreciate diversity.

Grades K-3rd

Young school age children can experience “culture shock” upon entering school. They may encounter children who may have been abused, who handle things and people roughly and who have not been respected or cared for. They will need help understanding why some people are “nice” and others seem “mean”. Encourage them to stay positive and view others with compassion.

In the meantime, live positive! Have a gratitude break once or twice a week. Let each family member tell what they are grateful for at the dinner table. Practice finding the “silver lining” when things don’t go well. Don’t deny how awful an event might have been. Just help them find a different perspective to view things from.

Encourage positive self-talk by referring to yourself and others in positive ways. Teach your child to use positive affirmations to bolster confidence. Perhaps before an important game they could repeat for several minutes: “I am strong and fast. I am ready for this game.” Or after feeling left out on the playground, “I am loved. I have lots of good friends.”

Main points to address:

  • Encourage your child to stay positive and compassionate even when others are not.
  • Let them know they always have a choice how they use their power and the energy of their thoughts.

Grades 4-6th

Older school age kids are learning what they are good at and what they are not as good at. This can be a time when children compare themselves with others. Helping your child to view themselves as unique and special will curb their tendency to put themselves down.

Listen to their self-doubts and fears without minimizing the issues. Then help your child look at things from a different angle. Using empathy will help your child be compassionate with themselves.

Reminding your child that he or she is not “done yet” will set them free to see their development as a process that sometimes feels like three steps forward and one step back. This will help them bounce back from disappointments more easily. Praise them for not giving up.

Children can tend to become perfectionist at this stage. Appreciating where your child is in their development will help them accept themselves and view their life experience positively. Convey the truth that everyone makes mistakes and misjudgments while they are learning. Tell them learning never really ends by showing them ways you are still learning.

You can begin to make the connection between positive thoughts, positive words and positive outcomes. It will be empowering for your child to learn that they are in control of their thought-life and that a positive lifestyle is a choice they can embrace. Your 9-12 year old is ready to understand that: “As a man (or woman or child!) thinketh, so is he (or she).”

Main points to address:

  • Encourage your child to see themselves as a unique individual with talents, skills and personal power.
  • Use empathy when listening to their fears and doubts.
  • Help your child view life as a process- better yet- an adventure!
  • Make the connection between positive thought, positive words, positive actions and positive outcome. Thoughts are powerful!

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Character.

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