Optimism is one of the most important gifts adults can give to a child. When a young person has hope for the future and can find a bright side to most bad experiences, the young person will grow up healthy, caring and confident.
But what makes a child positive and hopeful? How can we, as adults, shape that optimism? The solution lies in promoting youths' possibilities rather than their shortcomings — in reinforcing their strengths instead of their weaknesses.
Research shows that the payoff can be significant. Young people who have a positive view of their future are more likely to do well in school, contribute to their community and value diversity — and are less likely to become involved in violence and drug or alcohol abuse or to drop out of school, .
The following tips are some ways adults can help youth become positive about their future:
• Help young people feel valued and empowered by spending time with them, listening to their ideas, and helping them act on their convictions.
• Be a role model. Young people pay attention to the way adults deal with confrontation. Model peaceful conflict resolution by responding to anger or frustration with compassion and tolerance.
• Let young people know that failure isn't fatal. Help a young person put defeat into perspective and find a positive side to the experience.
• Nurture young people's confidence and self-esteem by looking for opportunities to praise their efforts and point out their strengths.
Young people are more likely to build positive identity assets when they are encouraged and supported. For more information about 4-H, call the Delta County 4-H office at 874-2195.blog comments powered by Disqus