Whether your baby was up all night crying or your teen is giving you major 'tude, it can be easy to feel down and think negative thoughts – but don't! "Being a mom is such a challenge from day one, filled with all sorts of surprises -- many of which are capable of sending a mom straight into a negative, downward spiral!" says psychotherapist Ruth R. Williams. "Having a positive outlook allows you to see the light shining through the darkness and the hope in a sometimes seemingly hopeless scenario."
Need help seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? Here are 5 benefits of positive thinking:
Positive thinking is contagious
Even if you don't initially feel it, a positive attitude yields more positive attitudes. "I find that when I am in a good mood and think positive thoughts then I am less likely to yell and be moody-- and when I am in a good mood [my kids] are, too," says Michelle Morton, mother of three boys. "They notice and pick up on everything and will react off that as well. If you want them to be positive, then you have to be that way. You can't practice what you don't preach. I start my day by finding a positive quote to set the tone for the day."
This perk alone is enough to make positive thinking well worth it! How does it work? "One of the greatest mistakes that mothers do with their children is that they use negative suggestions when communicating with them," says certified clinical hypnotherapist Larry Esquivel, CHT. "For example, if a mother tells her two kids who are always fighting, 'You two are always fighting and you don't listen to me!' What are the children going to do? Fight and not listen to her!"
He says you will get better results if you turn your negative suggestions into positive suggestions, for instance, by saying, "Could you two please get along with each other?" or "Stop fighting and go play outside." Your children will picture themselves getting along (instead of fighting) and you will see results.
When you have a positive outlook on life, you are also giving your kids the tools to deal with the inevitable bumps and curve balls of life. "Despite the outcome, experiencing positive emotions (like hope, optimism, happiness, satisfaction, comfort and confidence) is much more 'life-giving' than negative emotions (like mistrust, pessimism, doubt and fear)," says Williams. "A negative outlook is draining and works against you in your efforts at being a healthy, helpful and thoughtful parent. Positive emotions build resilience and resilience is one of the characteristics that helps get us through whatever tries to knock us down!"
How can positive thinking increase self-confidence in your kids? Dr. Ramini, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, explains. "Kids do what we do, not what we say. When my kids see me take a chance or pursue a dream, they may not be able to articulate it now, but a seed has been planted that the pursuit of dreams and the taking of risks is a good thing and something that becomes part of their inspirational vocabulary," she says.
Less parenting guilt
"Positive thinking helps me realize that my children and their choices do not define me," says Erika Oliver, author of Three Good Things: Happiness Every Day, No Matter What! "If my child doesn't get good grades, gets into a squabble with a peer or has a problem, it does not make me a bad (or good) parent. Their challenges are theirs and they are not mine to own. I have my own business to mind and when I take that step back, I am able to be supportive and helpful instead of controlling and interfering."
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