As we all know that life does not always go the way we had planned. Are you still at home? Hard time is going on us in this lockdown which is not only affecting our physical activities but also our mental health.
This global outbreak has not just affected adults but our children too. Have you noticed changes in your child’s behavior these days?
Hasn’t he or she become more aggressive or have arrogant behavior? Their sleep routine, eating routine, playing routines are all disturbed and they are getting towards a harsh behavior. That is all because they are at home doing nothing productive.
In this article, we will get to know the things parents should do to teach their kids a positive attitude so that the child could develop positive and kind behavior.
What impact does negativity have on your child’s mental health?
As a parent, it’s never easy to make your child express negative thoughts or to see her developing feelings like self-doubt, sadness, or anger. In a world filled with negativity, violence, and suffering, a little positive attitude can make life more manageable and can bring a big change. Although it is impossible to control life events, you can only control your reactions to what happens.
Because unfortunately, it’s natural to develop more negative thoughts than positive ones, and this can be even more delicate for children. This negativity is usually accompanied by fear, doubt, or shame, which produces stress chemicals in the brain.
Ultimately, a negative attitude can design how a child sees himself and the world around him. This type of negative attitude stops us or our children to develop the strength to deal with the challenges of life. When a child develops a positive attitude in the early days, positive thinking becomes a habit that can ease the pressures associated with growing up.
So as parents, there is plenty we can do to help our children develop a more positive attitude about their life and the world. We will discuss some activities and ways from which we can make a big change in our child’s behavior. The mindset of our child is the reflection of his future.
The mental health of a child
Worldwide the mental health problems affect about 1 out of 10 children. These problems include depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. These issues are often a direct response to what they are receiving from the outer world and what perception they are having in there. What picture and imagination they are creating in their brain.
Alarmingly, 70% of the world’s children experience mental health disorders because of no better communication and better activities at an early age.
The emotional feeling and mental health of a child are as important as physical health. Good mental health makes a child develop in a good way with good brain development. It strengthens the brain so much that he or it can cope with all the challenges life throws at them and become a healthy adult.
The disruptions in this developmental process can impair a child’s capacities for learning and relate to others with lifelong complications. By improving children’s environments of relationships and experiences, early in life, can save them from things including negative thoughts, hurting themselves, aggressive behavior, and the failure to complete high school.
Children show clear characteristics of mental issues like anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as autism at a very early age.
Researchers and psychologists confirmed and said that young children, respond to process emotional experiences and traumatic events in ways that are very different from adults and older children. Consequently, diagnosis in early childhood can be much more difficult than it is in adults and if it gets successful then it can make a big difference in the child’s life and developing future.
Things that can help develop the mentality and behavior
First, remind your children that being positive or negative to an object or any event that has occurred in their lives is their choice. Teach your children all the things and reactions they express by giving an example like, “Staying angry at someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to suffer.”
Another important thing you should do in life is trying to create a positive environment at your home by watching funny movies, telling jokes, and sharing whole day stories. Explain to your children that just smiling, sharing, and laughing can help shift your brain from bad things and make you feel good.
The things that can help keep the children mentally well and developing better growth of brain include:
- Being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet, and doing regular physical activities like walking, running, playing, jumping, etc.
- Making time and the freedom to play either indoor games or outdoor games.
- Being a part of the family that gets along well most of the time, sharing everything that happened throughout the day, and keeping yourself open to the family members.
- Going to a school that looks after the well-being and well growth of all its students.
- Taking part in activities, like social and environmental.
Some other factors that are also important, include:
- Being loved, trusted, understood, valued, and feeling safe.
- Being interested and serious in life and accepting opportunities to enjoy life.
- Being hopeful, practical, and optimistic.
- Being able to have opportunities and learn work to succeed.
- By accepting who they are and recognizing what they are good at and what they can do.
- Having a sense and knowledge of belonging to their culture, family, and community.
- Feel free to have control over their own life in making certain decisions.
- Having the strength and confidence to cope up when something is wrong and the ability to solve problems or share them with the family members.
Most children grow mentally healthy, but surveys and researches suggest that more children have problems with their mental health at an early age than at the age of 30 years. That is probably because of changes in the environment we live in now and how that affects the experience of the growing up of our children.
How to teach your children to have a positive behavior?
Many things that happen in the lives of children do not lead to mental health issues on their own, but traumatic events and experiences can trigger problems for children and who are already vulnerable.
Changes often act as triggers like moving from home or school or the birth of a new brother or sister. For example, some children who start school feel excited about making new friends and doing new activities, but there may also be some events about whom they feel anxious about entering a new environment like bullying, teasing, fear of being judged, etc.
Teenagers often experience emotional turmoil that means pain or a sense of terror as their minds and bodies grow. An important part of growing up is working out, being confident, and accepting who you are and what are your flaws.
Some children find it hard to make this transition to adulthood and may experiment with injurious items like alcohol, drugs, or other substances that can affect mental health as well as physical health.
What are the factors to avoid from your child to develop a negative attitude?
Your kids may not know much about the world, but they are not experts at pushing limits and trying patience. Certain risk factors make children more likely to experience problems than other children.
There are some things he or she might not be able to do yet, and no amount of yelling or losing patience will hurry her along. Get down on their level and try to experience their life as they see it. In other words, empathize with them.
Some of these factors include:
- Carrying a long term physical illness.
- Having a parent who has a medical history of having any mental health problems.
- Experiencing the death of someone they are very close.
- Seeing parents who got separated or divorced.
- Having been severely bullied or physically or sexually abused at school or community.
- Living in poverty or facing a financial crisis.
- Being homeless.
- Experiencing discrimination, perhaps because of their color, race, gender, or religion.
- Acting as a carer for the family at a young age or taking on adult responsibilities on their shoulder.
- Having long-standing local or educational difficulties.
Ways that can help develop a positive attitude
Practicing patience with your children comes with deliberate efforts, empathy, and perspective on their minds and behavior. A child’s brain is like a muscle, when they learn the brain grows.
A Danish psychologist ‘Svend Brinkmann’ explains and states that the pressure to think positively and be constantly cheerful has turned happiness into “a duty and a burden.”
Additionally, being happy all the time relaxes us from our emotions, which simply isn’t healthy. In fact, recent psychological research states that emotional avoidance is one of the main causes of many psychological issues.
For these reasons, there’s no need to pressurize children to avoid or dismiss negative emotions.
Instead, we can teach our kids to accept negative emotions and process them in a healthy way. We can encourage positive thinking and positive affirmations.
According to the positive psychology researcher ‘Barbara Fredrickson’, positive thinking is important because it broadens your sense of possibility and opens your mind, allowing you to build new skills.
More ways that can help build a positive mindset for your child are:
Loving, Kindness, and Meditation
Barbara Fredrickson, a positive researcher, found that just six weeks of training in a form of meditation focused on kindness and compassion resulted in increased positive emotions, social connectedness, and even improved health for children.
Loving, kindness, and meditation involve thinking of loved ones and sending them positive thoughts. Later, your child expands his or her positive thoughts to more neutral people in his/her life as well. Dr. Fredrickson indicates this form of meditation as “directing good-hearted wishes to others.” It is about generating feelings of kindness and warmth for other people in children.
Helping other people, wanderers are obviously beneficial and it will also enhance your child’s own positive feelings and behavior. People and children who volunteer for social or ecological work have been found to have higher self-esteem and overall well-being than those who don’t.
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor at the University of California, states, “People who engage in kind acts become happier over time”. When your child helps others, he or she will feel good about herself as a person, which will ultimately make her feel more optimistic and positive in general.
Helping people doesn’t mean helping outsiders but helping neighbors or family members. A young child can assist their parents around the house, help a younger or elder sibling with picking up toys or getting dressed, or be your “assistant” when you help others.
The more your child helps others, the more positive they will become.
Trying new activities and growing up more skills
First, recognize your child’s strengths and give them opportunities to develop those skills and experience them. For example, if your child has a beautiful voice or can sing, let her try voice lessons and perform in voice karaokes. If he is an excellent football player, sign her up for a local team and play with them and enhance their skills.
As your child develops their favorite skills and as a result succeeds, they will increase confidence and develop a more positive attitude towards enhancing them. Just like this, try new things and activities at home or outdoors that can result in increased confidence and resistance. Encourage your child to try a new skill, instrument, game, or any activity.
Try to make your child’s mindset for what they want to do in the future, what are their goals, and how can they achieve them. Be their friend so that your child couldn’t hesitate to discuss anything with you. Dr. Fredrickson in her research suggests that ‘goal-setting helps people become more optimistic, positive thinkers with a greater sense of well-being.
To help your child achieve goals and develop more long-term firm and positive thinking, use Dr. Oettiengen’s WOOP‘s strategy:
- Wish: Help your child, be their friend, and come up with the goal they wish or they would like to accomplish.
- Outcome: Engage your child in imagining the best outcome that could result from achieving that goal. For example: what will be the result? What would it feel like?
- Obstacle: Take a practical step further by generating a list of ‘DOs and DONTs’ that could prevent your child from reaching the goal. These problems could include wanting to give up or getting distracted by something, like wanting to play with toys or friends, check a cell phone, inviting or going to some friend’s place for a party, etc.
- Plan: The final and last step is to make a plan for dealing with the hurdles that could come. If or when they occur. Have your child say what will he/she does if any problem came and hope for a positive answer.
Lastly, don’t expect changes overnight in your child. Recognize that is it your impatience an issue that your child is misbehaving. Have patience with yourself. It could take a year of conditioning to respond to any change.
The power to stay positive will help your child pass through difficult times in life. You cannot protect your children from disappointment and occasional failure. Instead, help them recognize and fix their mistakes and choose to smile and stay positive.
Can language and vocabulary affect a child’s brain?
Yes! A child can easily judge your accent or words and in which way either soft or rude. In which tone you are talking about leaves a big effect on a child’s brain. Using vocabulary like “if” or “but” can also affect their thinking because that’s how they will start thinking about the negative side of the talk too. Just one word and their positive thinking will change into negative.
Can genes affect mental health?
Yes! If a parent, either mother or father, has any mental illness in their genes, it can affect their child’s health and can also transfer to them. And if you are diagnosed early or treated well can worsen their imagination, thoughts, and thinking.
What can failure affect a child’s brain?
Failure and the way parents respond to their child’s failure make a difference in their thinking. This is the utmost way a child gets away from their parents which makes things worse. Because due to fear of a reaction they won’t tell anything to them and start getting spoiled.
What examples can help?
Examples help children set their goals and their inspiration. Giving children examples of good deeds and good people will make them think and imagine good things which they can transform them into.
What can explanations do?
Offering your child explanations will make it easier to understand what they want to say or express or what they are thinking. Giving them space and listening to them carefully can make your children feel good and confident.