Learned optimism is a great skill your child will benefit from. How
optimistic is your child? Optimism or seeing the glass half full, a key
factor to your child’s wellbeing. Many children seem to have a negative
attitude or an attitude of helplessness. Learned optimism is a
strategy to help your child learn to have a more positive outlook.
Parents and educators have a key role in developing the skill of being
optimistic in their children.
Check out this page to see the benefits of optimism in children.
1. Reframing activities-when you child say something negative, for
example, “I will never win the race” encourage them to reframe their
point of view, for example: I will be getting fit and healthy today”
Download the free optimism cards and try them out. Look at the
situations and then together with your child think about how to change
the situation into a positive one.
3. Be a good role model and
use the techniques above yourself. As always seeing is the key way
children learn! Practice what you preach.
4. Ask your child to think of 5 positive reasons or outcomes to a scenario that they are not optimistic about.
5. Ask your child what he/she can do to make situation better
What is the definition of learned optimism? It is a term from positive psychology
meaning you can develop the skill of being happy or positive. The
opposite is learned helplessness in which people feel incapable and
negative in various situations.
Optimism vs Pessimism
Martin Seligman explains the difference in terms of four dimensions:
Optimists feel events are more temporary that pessimists. For example,
after failing a test, an optimist may say “That was disappointing, next
time I will do better” while a pessimist may say “My life is ruined,
now I will never get into university” ,
When a optimist faces a challenge they put that challenge as one area
of many in their lives, a pessimist on the other hand tends to
generalize the feeling of helplessness across their whole life for
example, “ I can’t do anything right.”
Hope: Pessimists believe negative events are permanent while optimists see these are temporary stumbling blocks
Optimists are generally more confident that pessimists. Pessimists
blame themselves for failures while optimists tend to view the blame as
outside of themselves.
Optimism is an important part of developing intrinsic motivation in your child.
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