Raising Children who are Hopeful
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Children today need more than a good education and loving parents in order to meet life's challenges and craft lives that are rich in meaning, pleasure, and satisfaction. Children, like adults, must develop the ability to be hopeful and optimistic about the future and to remain resilient in the face of adversity.
Indeed, hope and optimism are valued as strengths, are seen as indicators of mental health, and are predictors of happiness and well-being. Unfortunately, there has been a dramatic rise in psychological difficulties which signal hopelessness. This increase has been particularly marked in young people. For example, as many as 20% of youth may experience clinical depression by the time they graduate high school (Lewinsohn, Hops, et al., 1993). Similar increases have been reported for anxiety and suicide rates among youth (Twenge, 2000; Centers for Disease Control, 1991). These statistics make clear that our goal as educators and parents must be to teach children skills for developing optimism, hope, and resilience.
Hope and optimism are overlapping constructs and they tend to go hand in hand. These mental attitudes reflect the expectation that one's future is bright and that the individual has the ability to bring about good things in ...