How do you raise an op­ti­mistic child? DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON of­fers prac­ti­cal ways to help him see the sil­ver lin­ing in ev­ery cloud.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Pick up prac­ti­cal ways to help your child be more pos­i­tive and re­sis­tant to dis­ap­point­ments.

Your kid’s op­ti­mism is eas­ily dented. Even though he usu­ally has a cheery out­look on life, one small cri­sis can send him plum­met­ing into a state of de­spair.

Some­thing as sim­ple as not nd­ing the right shirt to wear to a party, or not get­ting ev­ery craft ac­tiv­ity right in class, can cause him to feel gloomy.

You would love for him to weather these mi­nor storms but, at this age, his bright dis­po­si­tion uc­tu­ates con­stantly, de­pend­ing heav­ily on what hap­pens around him.

And since your child mod­els much of his be­hav­iour on yours, watch­ing you op­ti­misti­cally cope with mi­nor up­sets in a pos­i­tive way pro­vides en­cour­age­ment for him to do the same. Here are some sce­nar­ios to con­sider: He doubts him­self in school

Your six-yearold pes­simisti­cally as­sures you that he is bound to fum­ble dur­ing show-and-tell to­mor­row be­cause he did not prac­tise hard enough.

How you can help Treat him se­ri­ously when he re­acts this way, and don’t dis­miss his re­ac­tion as silly or im­ma­ture – his lack of op­ti­mism is gen­uine. Re­mind him that he has done well in pre­vi­ous ses­sions. Tell him to try his best, and of­fer to prac­tise with him the next time. He is pes­simistic about mak­ing friends at school Friend­ships are espe­cially im­por­tant at this age. He wants to have plenty of pals, but may have doubts about his abil­ity to form new re­la­tion­ships.

How you can help Point out that he is won­der­ful, fun-lov­ing and good com­pany, and re­call how eas­ily he made friends when he rst went to playschool or to mu­sic class. Keep him fo­cused on his pre­vi­ous so­cial suc­cesses. When he feels good about him­self, other chil­dren will want him as their friend. He strug­gles to ride a bi­cy­cle

Cy­cling is so easy… when you know how. But for a child try­ing to mas­ter this com­plex phys­i­cal chal­lenge, a few false starts can eas­ily knock his condence. He soon tells you he’ll never learn how to do this. How you can help Ex­plain that ev­ery­body takes time to mas­ter cy­cling, that all his pals have the same ex­pe­ri­ence. Tell him rmly and condently that he’ll mas­ter it even­tu­ally if he prac­tises reg­u­larly, and that he should not worry about tem­po­rary slip-ups along the way. En­cour­age him to per­sist, even though his progress is slower than he had hoped.

He makes a silly mis­take in front of the whole class He gave a wrong an­swer to the teacher’s ques­tion and ev­ery­one else had a good chuckle at his mis­take. Now he says he is too em­bar­rassed to speak out again. How you can help En­cour­age him to see the funny side of this in­ci­dent – hu­mour is part of op­ti­mism, and if your child learns to laugh at him­self and his catas­tro­phes oc­ca­sion­ally, he’ll be more re­sis­tant to knocks and dis­ap­point­ments. Ex­plain that even the smartest child in school has times when he makes blun­ders in front of others. He has pre-per­for­mance jit­ters

It’s soon time for him to ap­pear in the preschool’s year-end con­cert and sud­denly he tells you that he isn’t good enough. He begs you to al­low him to call in sick so that he won’t have to per­form.

How you can help Don’t even wait for that to hap­pen. Keep his op­ti­mism high right from the start by en­sur­ing he pre­pares prop­erly for his per­for­mance. He needs to take con­trol, by at­tend­ing all the classes, lis­ten­ing to the teacher and prac­tis­ing the dances reg­u­larly. If he does all that, he will re­main op­ti­mistic.

En­cour­age him to see the funny side of his giv­ing the wrong an­swer in class. If your child learns to laugh at him­self, he’ll be more re­sis­tant to knocks and dis­ap­point­ments.

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