Does your teenage child always see the glass as half-empty or have a negative outlook on life? If your answer is “yes,” a wonderful technique called “reframing” might be able to change that.
Reframing alters a person’s negative view of a situation by identifying and focusing on the positive. For example, if your child is upset that he or she has to clean up the house after friends visit for a sleepover, you can reframe the situation by helping your child see how wonderful it is to have so many good friends.
The next time your teen is feeling down, try to reframe the situation using these simple steps:
- Show empathy.
- Validate your child’s point of view rather than abruptly changing or ignoring the situation. Empathy statements can calm agitated kids and help build relationships. You might try making comments such as “You really sound worried” and “I know it’s tough on you.”
- Rephrase the negative viewpoint into a positive.
- Cast a new light on the situation by identifying potentially positive aspects or outcomes. You can do this by highlighting positive meanings and by showing your child how to learn and grow from the experience. “You were called out on strikes without swinging the bat. What can you do to avoid that in the future?”
- Relate the positive viewpoint to the person’s goals.
- Your teenager will be more likely to consider and accept a reframed perspective if it is connected to resolving a specific problem or meeting a specific goal. “Maybe you can take some extra batting practice tomorrow.”
Don’t be discouraged if your teen doesn’t grasp reframing right away. Consistent use of the technique is the key to helping your child see that the glass is half-full.