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 mould our brains and ourselves to be more positive, which is great news for me and my children.
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 success 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.
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.
4. Teach them the Positive Shark Formula, E + P = 0
This is from a story about a 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 and 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 feeling of control which is a perspective that through their beliefs and actions they have an influence on their life.
5. Feel Blessed instead of Stressed
As parents we need to realise that children, like adults, deal with a lot of stress and stress is the enemy of positivity. The research says we can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time. Thus, a simple ritual is to help your children identify three things they are thankful for each day.
Jon Gordon is the author of The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy, published by Wiley, £10.99, paperback and e-book.