As someone who studies and teaches leadership and who is also a parent of two children, ages 12 and 10, I often notice the similarities between leadership and parenting. I guess that’s why I hear from a lot of people who tell me that they not only gave my books to their colleagues and clients but also to their family and children as well. There is no better feeling in the world than hearing from a 9 year old or a teenager that has read Training Camp or The Shark and The Goldfish and has benefited from it. This inspired me to write a recent article for a parenting magazine and I wanted to share it with you as well.
5 tips to develop positive kids
I have a confession. Despite the fact that I work to develop positive leaders, schools and teams, I’m not naturally a positive person. The research says it’s not my fault. Turns out, some people are born with a more positive disposition while others are born with more of a negative disposition. But there is hope. The latest research in neuroscience and positive psychology demonstrates that we can mold our brains and ourselves to be more positive, which is great news for me and my children.
For the past ten years, I’ve researched and practiced countless strategies to enhance positivity. I’ve worked really hard at becoming more positive, which I guess is why I’ve become a good teacher. I’ve seen the fruits of these efforts in my life and in the people I’ve taught—most importantly, my own children. I’ve seen how simple strategies and daily rituals can make a tremendous impact on their mindset, belief system and outlook on life.
I believe that positive kids become positive adults and, as parents, we can play a significant role in shaping our children’s perspective and mindset. In this spirit, I want to share with you several tips to develop positive kids.
1. Success of the day – Each night before bed, at dinner or while taking an after dinner walk, ask your children their successes of the day. The success could be a great conversation, an accomplishment at school, something they are proud of, a situation where they helped someone, etc. The important thing is to help them focus on accomplishments instead of failures. When we help our children expect success, look for success, and celebrate success, they find more success and gain more confidence. Of course they need to learn from their mistakes and failures, but let’s help them to not dwell on them.
2. Bedtime prayer – A ritual such as this provides your children with a foundation of peace, security, and confidence that gives them the strength to take on the daily challenges of being a child.
3. Implement the no complaining rule – It’s a simple rule that says you’re not allowed to complain unless you identify one or two possible solutions to your complaint. This empowers children to become a driver of their bus instead of being a passenger griping on the bus. They also learn to use complaints as a catalyst for positive change and positive action. Visit www.NoComplainingRule.com
4. Teach them the positive shark Fformula, E + P = 0 – This is from my latest book, The Shark and The Goldfish, which is a story about a nice and positive shark who teaches Gordy the goldfish how to overcome his fear of change and find food. After all, Goldfish wait to be fed. Sharks go find food. The formula reveals that we can’t control the (E) Events in our life. But we can control our (P) Positive Response to these events and our response determines the (O) outcome. This formula helps children develop a strong locus of control, which is a perspective that through their beliefs and actions they have an influence on their life. They come to believe that they are not a victim of circumstance but rather a hero in their own inspirational tale and that they can turn their challenges into opportunities and transform bad events into good outcomes. This helps them stay optimistic and believe that their best days are ahead of them, not behind them.
5. Feel blessed instead of stressed – As parents, we need to realize that children, like adults, deal with a lot of stress…and stress is the enemy of positivity. Well, the great news is that when you are feeling blessed you can’t be stressed. The research says we can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time. Thus, a simple ritual is to help your children identify 3 things they are thankful for each day. You can create a gratitude journal together or you can encourage them to write these blessings on their blog or diary or simply talk about them at dinner. And anytime they are feeling stressed you can encourage them to recall something they are thankful for.
I encourage you to think of your child’s mind like a garden. Each day you want to help them weed their negative thoughts and plant positive thoughts. One day of weeding and planting won’t do much. However, if you practice these strategies each day, over a week, a month, a year, a lifetime, the garden grows more healthy and vibrant. Nurture your children. Take time to coach them and nourish them with lots of love and positive energy and you shall see the fruits of your efforts.