Teach your child that he will certainly have negative experiences, but no matter how bad one may be, he will soon start to feel better and sometimes can even take action to help himself feel better more quickly. In addition, help him see that a negative experience usually doesn't have to cast a shadow over every part of his life.
Examples: When a pet dies, you feel very sad, but over time you will feel less sad, and you can draw pictures or write poems or stories to remember your pet; you don't make the basketball team, so at first you feel hurt and rejected - but maybe it leaves you time to focus on something else you love (and perhaps you didn't practice enough - see Tool #1); you have an argument with your friend, but once you resolve it your friendship could be stronger than ever.
Optimism Tool #3
Review your child's achievements regularly - big and small - and encourage her to do so too. The quicker she learns how to focus upon the positive parts of her life, rather than the things she hasn't accomplished, hopes to accomplish, or has failed to accomplish, the sooner she will begin to think optimistically about her life.
Examples: "Let's put up a display shelf for your trophies (even if they're just for participation)"; "Count the number of toys you put away in the next five minutes"; "Read your latest poem to me - I don't care about spelling mistakes"; "I noticed that you made fewer spelling mistakes on your test this time - good job!"
Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is "The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask."