How to Foster Positive Thinking in Your Tween

Positive thinking may not come naturally, here's how to encourage it

Developing a positive attitude can make your tween more resilient.
Your tween will learn how to be positive by watching you. Photo: Benjamin Pop,

Your tween is growing up and dealing with plenty of emotions. When your older child is going through a tough time, or is facing a challenging situation, it might be hard for him to think positively. But positive thinking can help your tween throughout his development, and throughout his life. Positive thinkers tend to be more resilient and they also seem to get more out of life. Here are a few ways you can encourage positive thinking in your tween.

How to Encourage Your Tween to Think Positively

Role Model: Positive thinking can be learned and the best way for your child to learn it is by watching you demonstrate positive thinking in your everyday life. When things go wrong, it's perfectly OK to acknowledge the negative. But you also want to constructively point out that there's something to be gained by any situation. If your child falls ill and misses school for several days, point out that it's no fun to be sick, but at least you do get to spend some time together. If your child doesn't make the soccer team, let him know that you're proud he tried, and that now he has an opportunity to find something else that he's interested in or that is fun to do after school. 

Find Solutions: It's easy to dwell on the negative when you can't find solutions to your problems. Help your child analyze a negative situation (such as a bad grade, or a fight that he had with a friend) and find solutions to the dilemma.

When your tween sees that there are steps he can take to improve his situation, he will likely develop a better attitude. 

Teach Gratitude: Positive thinking and gratitude go hand in hand and if your tween can learn to be grateful he will probably naturally develop a positive attitude. Practice showing gratitude for the little things in your life, and share your thoughts with your tween.

Make a list of things you're grateful for, and ask your tween to add to the list with all the things he is grateful for. 

Make Your Home a Positive Sanctuary: You can turn your home into a place where your child will feel optimistic and hopeful. Read funny books together as a family, or watch hopeful or humorous movies together on family movie night. Smiling and laughing are natural ways to turn negative feelings into positive ones. Also, allow your child the chance to have a little time alone when he's sad or angry. Sometimes tweens need time alone to regroup or recharge their batteries, and they could also help them throw off negative feelings. 

Praise Positive Thinking When You See it: Be sure you let your tween know when you notice that he's showing a positive attitude. It's easy to let things bring you down, but being positive and optimistic can sometimes take real effort. Compliment your tween when he turns a bad grade into an opportunity to improve. Point out examples of positive thinking in movies and books -- and how much better it worked out for the characters than dwelling on negative circumstances would have. 

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