P for Positivity

How do you get your child to be more positive?

What’s the latest in positive thinking for kids? How do you free your child from negative thinking? Especially when your child unhappy all the time. How do you make your shy child confident? Those are some of the questions I get. 

I am, generally speaking, a pretty positive guy. I do have moments of worry though. So the first thing I want to say about this is it's totally okay to worry. I used to worry about worrying. Can you believe that? And I guess sometimes I still do. And it's that thing from, you know, if you've ever watched like The Secret, I watched that years ago, that the only thing to fear is fear itself.  The idea that thinking negative thoughts will actually bring negative stuff into our lives. And yeah, that worried me a lot.

So anyway, we're going to talk about positivity, how to be more positive. So the first thing on this is that children do as we do, not as we say. So my dad, God bless him, I don't know, I say God bless him. I'm not a religious guy. And he’s no longer with us. He died about three years ago. But he was a pretty positive guy, but he did like me have these moments so I think we have a thing I know that the parents have a massive role to play in being positive role models for the kids. 

So when I talk to my mum about this, my mum is luckily still with us. She's 82 next week. And she says one of the greatest lessons that her father gave her was the idea that she could do anything she wanted to. And that is a fantastic outlook, big picture outlook, in terms of positivity about the future. And so that's a big picture that I want to look at in terms of like the micro, the little bits of pieces of positivity. 

And you think, why aren't we more positive more of the time? Well, I think it comes down to it, right here, right now for us is a lot of worry. And there's a lot of anger and there's a lot of fear. Obviously, especially about COVID-19.

Can we just ask you a question? Does that do us any good? Does worrying about it do us any good? Clearly not, it doesn't. It just makes us worry. So we're not choosing where we are. And we have a media that is very negative. We have social media, that apart from people posting pictures of fluffy kittens, is that there's a lot of anger out there. And these for me are bigger symptoms because the symptoms are the biggest thing. 

So we're surrounded by a lot of negativity. And we think that and that kind of creates this mood of negativity. And we think that it's normal and natural to be worried but it's not. We don't need to be worried to take the steps that we need to keep our family safe. We don't need to be worried, we can just do what we need to do without the worry. 

The two things are separate. How we feel and what we do are completely different. So raising more positive children, for me is about being a fantastic role model. And it is about choosing how we feel. Choosing how we feel. Most of the time, most of us aren't choosing how we feel. We are caught up in the rubbish that we've inherited from our past, you know. So for me, the rubbish that I took on board from the media when I was growing up, that I took on board from certain teachers that were less than positive. And from certain bullies, people that bullied me, called me nasty names and made my life hell on scout camp, all those sorts of things. 

So all that kind of rubbish that’s what psychologists call conditioning, really it's just old, festering horrible yucky thoughts from our past that those memories make us feel bad and make us worry. We don't want that for our kids. We want our kids to have better lives and live a better life than we did. We want things to be better. And being better means consciously choosing because if we don't consciously choose then all the negativity that's around the world will be doing the choosing for us. 

And we will be negative, we will talk about things like miserable weather. The birds like the weather. I mean kids like weather, the birds like rain, the grass likes the rain. And kids when they're little, they love the rain. So some they go splashing around in their wellies, I used to do that all the time, getting wet, who cares? But as all as we get older, this kind of conditioning that oh, it's miserable weather and well, no, then you had that kind of all wet playtime. It's a wet playtime. No, you know, we'll kind of take on this belief that the weather makes us miserable. What a load of rubbish. 

What do you think about that? How does the weather make us miserable? But yeah, we're all bought it. We're all bought in, we become bought into this, we're raised in this environment of negativity and I use it with the weather. Because, yes, it's nice, it's kind of a trivial one. But it's not going too deep. It's not talking about issues that we don't want to talk about.

It's kind of easy just to start questioning ourselves because as adults we pick up, as we've grown up we've picked up so much rubbish, me included, okay, me included. I am totally with you. But I just happen to have stumbled across some people that have told me about this and got me to question the rubbish that goes through my head. 

You know, the idea that I'm not good enough. The idea that, for example- one person watching live I don't know who, hello, you're watching- the idea that I should have more, you know. That I'm not doing enough. That I'm not enough because- only one person, two people are watching me, hello to that second person. That idea we'll pick up that rubbish from the world around us and it's easy to look at it from there. I find it a lot easier to exemplify this, to give examples of it with something like the weather because nobody can kind of argue with that. Maybe they can. Well, yes, the weather is natural.

But would you choose? That's what my- talking about my fantastic mentor and his partner, Richard and Liz yesterday for the Ministry of Inspiration, check them out, Ministry of Inspiration, Google Ministry of Inspiration. We don't choose most of the time what we would choose. We wouldn't choose to let rain upset us today. So there's only one answer. We're not choosing. 

If we can choose more of the time, then we're going to be more positive more of the time. And if we’re more positive more of the time, then the kids are going to soak that up like a sponge. Kids are like sponges, they soak up the good and they soak up the bad. So let's get them choosing. Let's choose ourselves and let's talk to them about this stuff. That's what my work is all about. So I am the children's happiness expert and my role is to support you. Hi, Laurie, what a great topic. Thank you. My role is to support you. As a mum, most of the work I do is with mums. Because the gender stereotypes still prevail, don't they? And, you know, whether I think that's the right thing or the wrong thing, all right. It's the mums that ring me, it's the mums that ring me, it's the mums that are concerned about- they're the ones that are, you know, doing this sort of nurturing role in most families. And then I've seen that I don't have a judgment on that. 

I'd love to hear from more dads. That’s who contacts me. And I want to support you to be able to build your child's confidence, to build your child's self-esteem, to build your child's resilience to bullying and, and do that based on everything that I've learned with 1600 kids. So people might think well, I don't need to know any of that. Well. Great. Brilliant, brilliant. 

I'm here for the ones, for the people that want to know. I've got a question for you. If you want your child to do better in life than you, then your child's going have to maybe know more than you, maybe do more than you think. There's going have to be a change. So, I know that you know, this is all for me, this is all about up-skilling understanding how life works, what drives our thoughts, what drives resilience, what drives confidence. 

I've been on for 12 minutes now, and I've been told, keep it short, keep it short. So less of the blurb about me. Choose more, be more positive. And be that positive role model that your child needs and maybe look at the areas of your life where you want to improve your knowledge and become, you know- I’m into this stuff, I want to become a better teacher, all my time, all my spare time is based around learning more, becoming better. I want to become better able to communicate this stuff to you. So you're better able to communicate it with your with your child. To make them more positive. To unleash their positivity. To be positive whatever happens to them.

Simon Benn Children's Happiness Expert

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