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Parenting Positive Kids

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Have you ever wondered why we notice the negative before the positive? Is this behavior learned (nurtured)? Can we teach our children to think more positively? Yes, I believe so!
After spending a few hours listening to Dr. Karyn Reivich, a positive psychologist, who collaborated with Pepperidge Farms (yes, the goldfish people- nourishing the body and the mind) to create Fishful Thinking, a resource for parenting positive kids, I was empowered to believe that I can influence my children's thoughts and views. Fishful Thinking is a parenting resource that provides simple, everyday, fun strategies that parents can use to help raise children with a positive outlook on life and who can confidently handle the challenges that come their way. There are five key skills that can be taught:

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  1. Optimism
  2. Resilience
  3. Hope/Goal Setting
  4. Empowerment
  5. Emotional Awareness

As a mom of two little ones, I certainly don't need another thing to do, so what I love about the Fishful Thinking approach is how the strategies to attain these skills can be imbedded into everyday life. For one week, I decided to work on Optimism with my 4 year old daughter. I chose Optimism because it seemed to be the easiest of the skills to implement. Moreover, the latest research from the Fishful Thinking group found that kids who are optimistic have greater resilience, are healthier, live 9 years longer, have higher GPA's and are better at sports. Who doesn't want those things for their kids?

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I integrated Optimism skill into my daily routine of walking to school. Prior to leaving one morning, I explained to my daughter that we would be doing a scavenger hunt (suggested activity by Fishful thinking) to find all of the positive things we see on our walk. Her response, was, "what is positive mean?" I just smiled and said that it means all of the things that are good or that make you feel happy. During the 30 minute walk, I struggled to overlook the homeless person on the street, the dog poop on the ground, and the garbage blowing in the air, but my goal to find something positive appeared when a father and daughter ran past us laughing and holding hands. My daughter, on the other hand, didn't seem to struggle as she proudly pointed out how the sun made the snow sparkle (she overlooked the two week dirt covering the snow), the pretty spring dresses in the shop window (and how they changed a few days later), the man laughing on a park bench, and the flowers blooming in a small patch of grass.

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At the end of the day, we incorporated more positive thinking by saying our gratitude prayers, a staple in our families' bedtime routine. That night my daughter was thankful for a warm bed and fresh water and I was thankful for my families' health. There are so many ways to incorporate optimism and the other Fishful Thinking skills into our daily lives. Find what works for you and your family and remember, there is a lot of good stuff out there, we just need to take a moment to let it in! So go ahead and check out Fishful Thinking! The site is super mom-friendly, easy to navigate, and just cheerful all around!

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