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Raising Optimistic Teenagers

Lisa Rutigliano, Advanced Placement Psychology and Child Development, Valley Stream Central High School

“Kids are willing to take more chances when they are optimistic.  It opens so many more doors because they see everything as an opportunity.”

"An optimistic outlook can make kids happier, more successful, and more resistant to stress."

Anthony Horowitz, Author of the Alex Rider novels 

“If young adult writers have one sole responsibility, I think it’s to provide an optimistic view of the world, to believe in the future, because it’s our readers to whom that future belongs." 

Jessica Lahey, author of "The Addiction Inoculation”

Optimism is about more than seeing a glass as half full; it’s a mindset that has a very real impact on physical and mental health. Optimistic children are better able to resist learned helplessness and depression, whereas pessimists are much more likely to give in to feelings of helplessness and are consequently at much higher risk of suffering from a wide range of negative mental and physical health outcomes. According to the psychologist Martin Seligman, author of “The Optimistic Child,” pessimistic kids see obstacles as permanent, pervasive, and their fault. Optimistic children, on the other hand, view setbacks as temporary, specific and attributable to behaviours that can be changed. As Dr Seligman explains: “Children learn their pessimism, in part, from their parents and teachers, so it is very important that you model optimism for your children as a first step.”

"Guide children toward optimism by framing their success as generally as possible..."

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