I read an article a few weeks ago and I wanted to talk about it during Mental Health Awareness Month. Moms and Dads ask me what they shouldn’t say to their kids or their teenagers concerning mental health. But this article got me thinking about the importance of putting into practice things we can do daily to help our kiddos when they struggle.

You can find the full article here-7 Skills for Kids

There seems to be a tendency towards pessimism in our world today. You see it in the dialogue of movies and shows and lyrics in songs, and we certainly can’t miss the negative chatter on social sites. 

Even worse, have you listened to the way you talk to yourself? I wonder if you would ever say the words racing through your head out loud to someone.

When we talk about optimism, the truth is, mom and dad, it starts with you.

It’s important to assess our self-talk. So, to start, let’s take time for reflection; sit down and reflect. Write down the things you say to yourself today. This will be important for you to know and maybe work on if you find yourself on the half-empty side of life. Use your notes app on your phone or write it down in your journal. As you work on your awareness of your self-talk, try these three easy steps to help your kids and teenagers become more optimistic.

Share the 40 I Ams 

To truly be optimistic, we need to know who God says we are. These statements are truths we can claim. They are a reminder that we are more than able to conquer because of the gift of Jesus. You can get a copy of those statements here and here.

I recommend that you write them out on notecards, write them on a mirror, and place them on the fridge in the kitchen. Our world may try to surround us with pessimistic overtones, but the 40 I Ams can help us not to forget the God-potential within us. 

Refrain From Using Always and Never Statements

“It ALWAYS happens this way…”

“I NEVER can…”

“It’s ALWAYS gonna be this way, and it will NEVER change…”

Statements like these can almost guarantee a negative outlook on life. Our words are powerful and can limit our potential. We need to be aware of always and never statements because they often reflect that kind of thinking. How often do you say statements like this? Do you hear your kid talk like this? It is true that God is always good, and He will never leave us. These statements can be said about Him. And because of Him, we can surely overcome. If you find that you or your kid use these statements, try and eliminate them for the day. See how your disposition changes with new statements!

Surround Them with Encouragement

Something in my spirit shifts when someone says something encouraging to me. I know you have felt the same way. Words of affirmation from someone else can bring about a calmness that I can’t always achieve on my own. Not only that, but when I am intentional about sharing encouraging words with others, my heart is softened, and I feel lighter. I feel more optimistic in an environment that is brimming with authentic encouragement. Try it today with your kids and especially your teenagers. Find something they are doing that is worth praise-we are all worthy of something to be praised-and share your words with them. Let them know that you are honored to be their mom or dad. Let them know that you are proud of how hard they are trying and that you love them. Echo the truths of God to them so that they have context for the never-failing love of our Father.

Walking on the sunny side of life is something that may not always come easy. It may not “just happen,” and that’s okay. We may need to break a few habits and maybe develop a few new ones to work on. You see, we can find freedom in our not-yet moments and retain an optimistic disposition despite our circumstances. It’s not because of something we do or achieve. Knowing who God is and who God says we are can help us be the optimist we are created to be!