Developing Positive Thinking in Teenagers

Thinking clearly and effectively is essential for success, and helping your teen develop a positive outlook will only heighten that success. As James Allen stated, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” Positive thinking is a way of looking at any circumstance and finding the good in it. In addition to making your teen feel better, positive thinking can improve their memory, decision making, and problem solving skills. Positive thinking will also give them a better outlook on life and keep them moving in a constructive direction.

Characteristics of teens lacking positive thinking skills

Teens lacking positive thinking skills usually have a tendency to compare themselves to others, and tend to believe that they aren’t as good as other teens. They lack self-control, and they tend to be action-oriented and impulsive. They may blame problems on others, try to justify their behavior with the behavior of others, or lie. They may also exhibit poor self-esteem, poor communication skills and a persistent sense of hopelessness.

All parents want their children to have a positive outlook on life. To help teens accomplish this, it is important that parents listen to their teens, and help them overcome their negative thoughts. Parents can increase their teen’s tendency toward positive thinking by giving them the skills to think more positively — inter-personal skills, problem solving skills, critical reasoning, and planning skills. When parents look for ways to guide their teen’s thoughts in a positive direction, they will see very exciting results, and the best place to start is by changing your own way of thinking.

Set an example

Teens have the tendency to imitate their parents and learn positive thinking patterns by observation. Modeling a positive attitude is one of the most effective ways of teaching your teen, so start presenting your thoughts in a positive way. You can use statements such as, “I can’t believe I burned dinner. Oh well, I guess that means we get to order pizza!”

Provide a positive setting

When teens are in a home that does not provide a positive and healthy environment, they are more likely to

  • display impulsive behaviors such as physical and verbal aggression,
  • become overly emotional or easily frustrated,
  • have difficulty making friends,
  • and be less prone to show sympathy or empathy to others in distress.

Research shows that the physical environment in which troublesome teens live tends to be highly critical, involves physical and emotional abuse, unnecessarily harsh punishments, and a lack of positive parental influence. On the other hand, providing a positive environment for your teen gives them the tools they need to be positive thinkers.

Instill moral reasoning in your teen

Help your teen develop kindness, helpfulness, sympathy, and empathy. These are all skills that will help them develop a more positive way of thinking now and throughout their life. You can help them see other points of view by role-playing different situations, teaching them about self-control, or giving them materials they can study on their own. Pointing out positive versus negative attitudes from news stories is an excellent way of showing your teen just how this all works in real life.

Help your teen change his way of thinking

In order to think more positively, there has to be a change in your teen’s mental attitude. Don’t allow your teen to compare himself to other people. Encourage him to see his own strengths and be happy with who he is. Parents should encourage their teens to have long-term and short-term goals and to visualize success in all ventures. When your teen says ‘I can’, and expects success, he develops confidence. That confidence, along with continued positive thinking, can lead your teen down a very successful path.

Have a conversation with your teen about their strengths. Encourage them to say positive things about themselves and about others. Talk about the positive things happening in their life and the positive things that will happen in the future.

Help your teen focus on positive thoughts

It will help your teen focus on being more positive if you give her a few positive words she can repeat in her head, or if she can tell herself that everything is going to be all right. There is real value in discussing positive thinking and self-esteem with your teen on a regular basis. Help your teen see that there is always a new idea or a solution to any problem. Instead of letting your teen become upset when they experience a failure, guide her toward more positive thoughts, ideas, and images. Don’t let her dwell on what happened. Show her how she can learn from the experience and move on to better things.

Encourage your teen to accept responsibility for his actions

If your teen has made some wrong choices, help him realize that he’s where he is today because of his own decisions, not someone else’s. Your teen should accept responsibility for those actions and move on. Neither you nor your teen should dwell on what has happened in the past. Accept where you are today and move forward in a positive direction. Help you teen make positive changes that will help him make better choices in the future.

With positive thinking, your teen can build self-confidence, develop a positive attitude toward life, and increase their self-esteem.