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Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Reframing Life’s Problems: Mud Splatters or Polka Dots (Guest: Christy Monson)


One rainy, spring day Megan and Melissa, twins age four, played in the water-soaked grass near the sidewalk. An older boy on his way to school stomped through the puddles next to the girls, splashing mud on them.

Megan ran into the house sobbing, “Mother, I’m all dirty!”

After Megan calmed down, Mother hurried out to check on Melissa.

Melissa twirled in the rain. “Look, Mother, I have brown polka dots on my raincoat. Aren’t they pretty?”

Perspective is EVERYTHING!

Positive Reframing

All of us want our children to become healthy and optimistic adults. Positive reframing helps us all find the good in our not-so-perfect lives. No matter how hard we try, all of us, including our children, get splattered with mud at times.

Sometimes children are just born positive thinkers, like Melissa. Others, like Megan, must learn that skill. Optimistic thinking can reduce anxiety and alleviate depression in children. Kids that can find the good in their lives develop confident feelings.

Creating a Hopeful Outlook

Reframing difficulties teaches children to look for that good in their lives. Here are some thoughts for creating a hopeful outlook.

1. Listen to the child’s concerns and problems.

2. Empathize with them. Hear what they have to say and let them know you see their point.

3. Allow them to release their feelings, if necessary, through journaling, art or exercise.

4. Help them put events in perspective and ask how they will handle the situation next time.

5. Reframe the incident in a positive light.

When Megan ran into the house crying, Mother hugged her and listened to her. She let Megan cry her feelings out, then asked, “What can you do differently next time?”

“I can wade in the puddles close to the house so no one will splash me,” said Megan.

“I’ll bet that boy was having just as much fun stomping through the rain as you and Melissa were.”

Megan giggled and ran back outside to join her sister.

Reframed Spaghetti

Mary hurried to finish draining the spaghetti noodles for dinner. The baby had just thrown his bottle on the floor as her husband, Hank, walked into the house from work. As she carried the noodles from the sink to the table, Mary slipped on the discarded bottle and noodles splattered all over the floor.

Mary knelt down to clean up the mess. “Oh, no! Dinner is ruined!”

Hank crouched beside her and put his arm on her shoulder. “Let me change my clothes, and I’ll help you.”

“What a MESS!” said Mary.

He chuckled. “You’re just giving us a chance to brush up on our floor-scrubbing skills.”

Mary smiled.


Veteran therapist, Christy Monson, is the author of the new book, Love, Hugs and Hope: When Scary Things Happen. [website]


To hear an interview with Christy Monson, CLICK HERE.

April 6, 2014 Posted by | Counselors, family, Healthy living, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , | 1 Comment