A healthy attitude to living is the best thing parents can give their children. There is a sense of satisfaction and achievement for parents who feel confident that their child is equipped to handle challenges and difficulties. We live in a world of change and uncertainty where many things are beyond our control, but how we manage often depends on the way we see situations. Helping your child look on the bright side of life and become an optimist is a step towards preparing your child for a strong future.

What is optimism?

Optimism is being able to expect the best out of life’s experiences. It means having a strong belief, hope, and confidence to deal with situations. Optimism is about thinking positively and being able to look on the bright side helps all of us to manage life’s difficulties and get on top of challenges.

The importance of optimism

Psychologists who work with athletes to win often help them develop images of themselves succeeding or self-talk to help them remain positive through hours of training. This is optimism in practice.

Developing optimism

Some children are born with a natural ability and a sunny disposition that lends itself to solving problems and dealing with challenges. Other children may struggle to overcome difficulties, often expecting the worst to occur. As children grow and develop they need as many opportunities as possible to explore their world and experience success.

Self-talk is what we say to ourselves to explain the things that happen through the day. When children can say to themselves that they can do something they are more likely to succeed.

The ways that adults talk about and think about their experiences are very powerful in shaping a child’s beliefs about why success or failure might happen.


  • Optimists are people who don’t give up and refuse to feel helpless when faced with seemingly impossible problems. They believe in themselves, expect to succeed and remain positive.
  • Optimists are less likely to suffer from depression.
  • Optimists are more likely to recognize and think about their past signs of successes and what they did to succeed.
  • The more optimistic children are, the abler they are to succeed and have a sense of the future, learn at school and to make friends.
  • Optimistic thinking has words like – maybe, perhaps, sometimes, possibly, usually.


  • Pessimists are people who feel helpless and down and, to them, everything seems too difficult and too big. There is often a sense of hopelessness and despair… looking on the worst side of the situation or always finding reasons why something won’t work or can’t be tried.
  • A tendency to make ‘mountains out of molehills’ means people can think problems are impossible and they give up before even trying.
  • Pessimism gets worse with each setback and soon becomes self-fulfilling.
  • Pessimists are more likely to give in to helplessness and are at a greater risk of developing depression.
  • Pessimistic thinking has words like – always, can’t, never, shouldn’t.


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