Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How to Raise an OPTIMIST; Parents, It All Has to Do with You and Your Attitude about Life

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How to Raise an OPTIMIST; Parents, It All Has to Do with You and Your Attitude about Life

Article excerpt

Byline: JOY BATTEH-FREIHA

Raising children is no easy task, especially these days.

But raising children to have a sunny outlook on life no matter what comes their way is easy and, basically, up to you, say experts.

So maybe you're not the kind of parent who whistles "zippedee do-dah" all day long, and that's OK. What is important is the way you live your life and how you put certain events into perspective. That in turn, helps shape your child's outlook on life.

"At an early age, children look up to their parents for their view of the future," said David Chesire, a licensed psychologist with UF and Shands Jacksonville. "Parents pass on their outlook of life to their children. If you view the future full of potential and possibilities, or failure and hardship, so will your children. They pickup learned behavior."

Local pediatrician Randy Thornton with Jacksonville Pediatrics, agreed with Chesire and added that babies aren't born optimistic, but over time, tend to reflect their parents' values.

"Babies are born neither optimistic nor pessimistic, as they do not yet have the cognitive ability to recognize their own thoughts," Thornton said. "Optimism develops over time."

Southside resident Mimi Bajalia is a mother of two young girls. As a child, she recalled not being overly happy, but more cautious and guarded from disappointment.

"I think I'm on the extreme end, but I don't believe the goal in life is to always be happy," explained Bajalia. "I try to focus on raising my daughters with character and lasting core values, including spirituality, love and genuineness."

Bajalia said she and her husband are more concerned about raising their daughters to be emotionally sound and confident women.

"I think optimism is partially fate," said Bajalia. "One can grow up in an amazing environment, but still not be optimistic. We try to teach our daughters not to get caught up in the rat race, but rather we teach them there is good and bad in the world and focus on being a good person. …

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