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Family Values

attitude-tag-cloudGive me an "A" word regarding children/parenting: a plethora of answers will ensue depending on station, perspective or latest interaction. "Applesauce," "affectionate," "active" and "attitude" are the words will tumble out. Children/parenting cover a range of words and emotions everyday. The word that makes life manageable and sweeter is "Attitude."

Humans are born with temperaments — a natural predisposition. But, from angelic to grumpy, sulky to angry, attitudes are changeable. This is Good News! Recall the parental phrase, "You need an attitude adjustment?" Turns out, it is scientifically and humanistically correct. Sadie's surly flinging of her applesauce across the kitchen, Orville's ornery exploits regarding the boy next door, Hannah's "huffs" of disgruntledness at her mother and Ian's irritableness at life in general, can all be changed with consistent parental instruction.

1 First step: Parents, adjust your own attitude. Children are mirrors and imitators. They reflect what they see and hear — the good and bad. Teach yourself to look for good, not dwell on the negative. It's the glass half-full or empty scenario. If the glass is always half-empty, you will be unhappy, dissatisfied and have a negative attitude. If the glass is half-full, a happy, grateful, positive/pleasant attitude will follow. Do you want to live a life of unhappiness or happiness? You choose which perspective to view life from. It will absolutely dictate your attitude toward every situation you find yourself in. Truth is, you teach your child to view life the same way.

4-Day Positive Attitude Diet

Focus on a different attitude skill each day.

Repeat the cycle until you've built an invincible attitude. It works!

Day 1: Fill your mind with positives.
Instead of living your life on autopilot and letting all thoughts into your mind, feed your mind positive input. Avoid the cynics and gripers. Write down 50 wonderful things that happen to you on Day 1.

Day 2: Affirm yourself.
To build a positive attitude you must remind yourself of past victories. Congratulate yourself on the good you have done and will do. Mistakes? Learn the lesson and laugh at yourself.

Day 3: Think only good things about people.
Don't allow ill thoughts to enter your mind. Look for something you like in everyone. You can always find something positive.

Day 4: Speak only positive words.

In order to build/maintain a positive attitude, you must speak hopefully about everything — job, customers, manager, employees, children, health and future. You may have to talk yourself out of uttering negative words.


Dr. Christine Carter, sociologist at UC Berkley, who studies happiness and directs the Greater Good Science Center, espouses that attitude and happiness are taught. It is a behavior that is learned from surroundings; for children, primarily, taught by parents. From research, she states that children and parents can learn to be joyful and happier.

If the glass is always half-empty, you will be unhappy, dissatisfied and have a negative attitude. If the glass is half-full, a happy, grateful, positive/pleasant attitude will follow.

2 Second step: Teach yourself and children to be appreciative. Appreciating what you have, beginning with life itself, lends to positive attitudes. Imagine each morning hearing, "Mom is so happy to see you this morning. I love waking up to your face!" What a great morning attitude booster. Versus, "Hurry up, we're late." Appreciating what you have puts attitudes in a positive perspective.

Carter says, "Practice little things that bake happiness into your children's everyday lives." One of her favorite suggestions and starting points is to have children, each night at bedtime, name three good things that happened to them that day. She ascertains that this fosters feelings of appreciation and creates a habit of feeling grateful — teaching children to see the glass as half-full. Appreciative and grateful young hearts yield happier and more positive attitudes.
Next time they throw a fit, pout in the corner, lash out in anger or cop a "'tude," don't accept or excuse their disposition. Wipe off the applesauce and work on adjusting the attitude. In the long run, everyone will be happier.

Elaine Stone, mother of three, lives in Spotsylvania. Write: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.