The number of times I hear “but” from Jenn and Emma each day is astounding. In their minds not only are they making excuses, but they’re building walls. They’re setting themselves up for failure without realizing that even failure is a gift.
They don’t realize that both success and failure are opportunities to grow and to push forward and above all to learn to persevere in rising up and overcoming.
…but I don’t want to.
…but it’s hard.
…but I can’t.
Just one word and their positive statements turn to negativity. They discount themselves before they try and they think they know the answer to what they want before even asking.
So we banned the word “but” in effort to try to build up our kids and help them grow a positive attitude and have an optimistic growth mindset.
Other ways to Teach kids to Have a Positive Attitude
How your child deals with disappointment and frustration now will not only have an affect on their day-to-day behavior but it will shape how they handle things later in life. It’s important to teach kids to have a positive attitude when they are young if possible, but continue it throughout their life. It will become a habit, their default response to situations they wish were different.
1. Be a good example
Even if you don’t think they are, your children are always listening to you and picking up on your responses so make sure you’re setting a good example. They watch how you react to stress and how you treat difficult people and frustrating situations. They learn their own behavior by watching yours. Make a choice to have a positive attitude and not let stress get to you. Show your kids that you can control your attitude instead of letting situations and people control your responses.
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2. Be an encourager
Helping your child build their self-esteem will help them feel more confident, be happier, and hold a more positive attitude. Encourage your child and recognize their accomplishments, both big and small.
“I can see you really worked hard on this. You did a great job.”
“I appreciate your help.” “I can see you really took your time with this project and did your best work.”
A little encouragement goes a long way and demonstrates positivity to them as well.
3. Turn a negative into a positive
We all make mistakes, we all struggle with new things, but when we see the positive of a situation it makes it a little easier. When your child is feeling down on themselves for something they’re not good at, turn it around and remind them what they are good at. Words like “and” and “yet” can turn the situation around.
“You may not know the alphabet yet, but you’re learning and it takes time. You’ll get it.”
“I’m upset about how you behaved, but I can be angry and still love you.”
4. Strive to make your home a happy place
Set the mood for your home with your behavior and actions. Make your home a place of acceptance, a safe place to be who you are, and fill it with love and laughter.
Laughter has a positive affect on your attitude so encourage your kids to do it often with silly dances, funny stories, and jokes. When they’re happy and laughing, they’ll naturally be more positive and respond in a more positive manner to stressful situations.
5. Offer explanations
Words and phrases like “no” and “because I said so” don’t teach positive behavior because they don’t point out what’s wrong. Instead, try saying no without saying “no.”
For instance, “I know you love cookies, but eating too many will make your tummy hurt.” “I can’t understand you when you’re whining. Try telling me what you want in your regular voice.” “Don’t touch that, it’s hot and you could hurt yourself.”
Explaining to your child why they can’t do something will help them have a more positive response to your action.
Need help shifting to positive phrasing?
Over the last several years, I have talked to so many parents like you that need help with ideas on how to make their language more effective for stronger communication with their kids. Below you will find a 1-page free download with some scenarios and ideas on how to shift to more positive wording. By downloading, you will also get weekly updated from the Extremely Good Parenting team!
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!