Research finds that children as young as 5 years of age can understand positive thinking and its benefits.
Thinking positively can work wonders on people even for the cynics at heart. And though some may undermine its powers, children don't. In fact, children as young as 5 years old can already understand the benefits of thinking positively, study finds.
To study how children understand positive thinking, researchers led by Christi Bamford, assistant professor of psychology at Jacksonville University, who conducted the study back when she was at the University of California, Davis, looked at 90 children ages 5 to 10.
In the study, the children listened to six illustrated stories in which two characters feel the same emotion after experiencing something positive such as getting a puppy; something negative such as spilling milk; and ambiguous such as meeting a new teacher. These different experiences were then put into perspective as one character framed it in a positive light, while the other in a pessimistic point of view.
After the subsequent thoughts of the characters were explained to the children, they were asked to judge each character's emotions and provide an explanation for those emotions. In addition, children along with their parents were asked to complete surveys to measure their individual levels of hope and optimism.
Under all of these assessments, researchers discovered that children as young as 5 predicted that people would feel better after thinking positive thoughts than they would after thinking negative thoughts.
When it comes to the story, children showed the strongest insight about the influence of positive versus negative thoughts on emotions in ambiguous situations.
Additionally, researchers saw that there was a significant development in the children's understanding about the emotion-feeling link as they grew older.
However, children found it difficult to understand how positive thinking can boost someone's spirits in negative situations. This is where their levels of hope and optimism played a role in understanding the power of positive thinking.
Benefits of Being Positive
Positive thinking is tremendously underrated especially among children, where more often than not, parents let them think positively for themselves. What parents may not know is that thinking positively can significantly affect their children's future for the better.
Positive thinking can actually give children the confidence to overcome obstacles and achieve good grades in high school and college, LiveStrong.com reported. Thinking positively can also help give children the mindset to strive for their career goals; improve their social skills by attracting friends and being more social; and avoid stress-related health issues.
So with all of these benefits, how can parents help their kids to think positively? According to TeachKidsHow.com, parents should:
- Keep their thoughts and words gentle and positive
- Speak kindly of all family members and friends
- Approach work with enthusiasm
- Speak language of hope and affirmation
- Frame corrections in a positive light
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