Raising Optimistic Kids in a Cynical World

The stresses of daily life affect every living being, and left unchecked, those stresses can weigh heavily on a child’s heart. How do we raise kids who are both worldly enough to survive while remaining innocent enough to dream in an on-demand society?

Balancing Hopes and Realities

Societal expectations fluctuate by generation, it’s true, but today’s social landscape often changes on a minute to minute basis. The need for honest dialogue between parents and their offspring about many of life’s intricacies that previous generations were less incline to discuss openly.

Dinner table conversations about gender identity, human rights, viral trends, climate change, and global events are less taboo today than in the past. Parents often feel ill-equipped to answer questions their children have about the world at large, and in their embarrassment shut down the conversation. This does both parties a great disservice.

By encouraging discussion of controversial topics with an open mind, parents often find that their kids are articulate, intelligent, and motivated to enact positive changes and are generally well-rounded individuals.

Setting Boundaries and Sticking to Them

Once you’ve decided to engage in discussions of topics you aren’t necessarily comfortable with as a parent, it’s a good idea to establish guidelines for those conversations. For example, you might choose to assign a family fact-checker or break acceptable topics down by your kids’ ages. Keeping abreast of school assignments and activities as well as your children’s social obligations will also give you insights into what is going on in their minds.

Setting limits on the usage of technology, social interactions, extracurricular or educational activities can be helpful when creating boundaries for your children to learn to respect. It is the mutual respect earned between parents and children when these guidelines are consciously set to keep communication open that is the ultimate goal of boundaries.

Be a Reliable Parent That Your Kid Can Turn To

Kids need to know there is someone interested in what they think and feel if we want them to learn how to have healthy personal relationships throughout their lives. When we offer preteens and teens the opportunity to discuss what makes them happy and what upsets them, we show them firsthand how important communication is.

Children depend on schedules and structure to build their mental and emotional foundations. They also require flexibility, because life is rarely black and white with no shades of uncertainty. Let’s face it, being a kid is a hard job, and when kids know that someone appreciates their struggles, they are far more likely to seek out help when they are in need.

Trust Your Kids and Your Parenting Skills

With so many ways our kids can pull a fast one on us being blasted across the web, it’s vital to remember who we are as individual families. Don’t forget that you know your kids much better than any viral trend may indicate. Trust your kids to make good decisions, and they usually will.