Negativity In Teens

by Sheryl Faber

If you have a teen who looks on the darker side of life, be aware that this negativity can be lessened with effective measures. It takes patience and creativity, but with time and effort, your teen can learn that optimism is a much better trait to have when it comes to dealing with life's challenges.

Be an Example

Examine your own habits and words. Do they cause your teen to emulate you and your own feelings about what is going on around you? Make a point to make positive statements about even the unfortunate events that occur to you or your family. “One of the most important things we adults can do for young children is to model the kind of person we would like them to be,” according to early childhood educator Carol B. Hillman.

Supply Reading Materials

Many uplifting books and novels are out there for teens and parents. "The Power of Positive Thinking for Young People," by Norman Vincent Peale, is a classic with suggestions and steps to becoming more confident and optimistic. "Mind Coach: How to Teach Children and Teenagers to Think Positive and Feel Good," by Daniel G. Amen, focuses on negative thoughts that hold a teen back from his potential.

Pave the Way

Make a point of introducing your teen to the positive elements of life. An uplifting movie, an inspirational concert or an insightful seminar with a motivational speaker can all help diminish pessimism and negativity from a teen's outlook. Introduce your teen to the small things we take for granted: a beautiful fall day, a spectacular view or an unexpected visit from a friend or family member.

Teach Gratitude

Become a role model in gratitude. It is hard to be negative when the sun is shining, you are healthy and alive, and you are surrounded by loved ones. Teach your teen to celebrate the small victories and beauty that surrounds her. Point out these occurrences and surroundings to her throughout the day to help make her mindful of the multitude of things she has to be grateful for.


Sometimes when a teen is being negative, he simply wants to be heard. Listen without being judgmental or critical. Make suggestions only if he asks for them and refrain from inserting your own comments and suggestions unless you feel they are welcomed. Psychologist Carl Pickhardt states, "The basis for the negative mindset is the early adolescent's rejection of herself as a child" so don't take it personally when she develops a negative attitude -- be a supportive and caring ear for all of her frustrations and concerns, according to an article at

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