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  1. #1

    Default Optimism and Resilience

    I read "Learned Optimism" at the beginning of 2016 and it dramatically changed how I see and handle situations that don't go the way I want. I don't get as depressed as I used to and I no longer ruminate for hours about rotten events. For the past year and a half, I have been trying to figure out how to teach optimism to my children. I see the same patterns of helplessness and depression that I saw in myself.

    I recently found a Coursera MOOC on Resilience by Karen Reivich that talks about the same research and expands on the principles of optimism and resilience. The course is fantastic! However,i haven't shown it to my children because they would have a hard time understanding it. Naturally, I want my children to benefit from this research, but I don't know where to find something geared towards children.

    There is a program, the Penn Resilience Program (PRP), that seems like exactly what I want my children to take. However, they do not offer this course to anyone outside of their research, as far as I can tell. (It has been implemented in a private school in Australia, though.)

    I don't know where to find a resilience program for my kids. Does anyone have any experience with the PRP? How can I get this training for my kids?

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  3. #2
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    No clue, but I'm checking this book out for sure.
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

    I gather all kinds of secular homeschool resources and share them at

  4. #3


    This sounds so interesting! I personally have not had any experience with PRP but I love all the new things you can find with free MOOCs. Thanks for sharing!

  5. #4


    I don't know if you've already found something. If you did, I'd love to hear about it because this is what I'm trying to work on with our kids as well. I did notice that when I searched for the Learned Optimism book on Amazon, the same author, I'm assuming you mean the book by Martin E. P. Seligman, has another book called The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience. It looks like it's a way to implement his ideas with your kids?

    I'm going to check out both books. Thanks for sharing!
    Mom of DS 11, DD 9, DS 6, and DD 2

  6. #5


    Hmm. So...I taught a parenting/child class years ago using the Nurturing Program. One of the key things in that was learning that when people say things to you, you get to choose how to react. So, some bully wants to make you scream. He says something mean to make you cry. When you cry, you give him the power. can keep the power. You can say "I don't want to do what HE wants me to do. I will react how I want. I will not scream or cry. I will laugh." When you laugh, you KEEP the power. With adults this might be MIL saying that she didn't raise her kids that way and being critical, but you saying, "that is great." and keeping on doing what you are doing. In the Nurturing Program, they called this Personal Power.

    Another thing that comes to mind is failure. A friend of mine saw that her son was afraid to try things for fear he would fail or make a mistake. Every day, when she picked him up from school, she asked him "what mistakes did you make today?" followed by "What did you learn?" She provided her own mistake and lessons for her day at work. He became more confident, and learned that mistakes are the only way we really learn and move forward.

    Not sure if this is all or part of what you are looking for or not. I know that both of these impacted how I looked at life...taking responsibility for my own feelings and how I reacted to events was a good thing. I kind of had figured this out with my older brother who liked to tease me to make me scream, but it was good to hear it applied to other situations. And the mistakes thing...very good for uptight kids who never want to get a problem wrong.

  7. #6


    I love the fair and mistake thing. What a great idea. My two boys really struggle with making mistakes. DD doesn't seem fazed by it. I am not fazed my mistakes, usually, but DH can not make a mistake ever. It makes it very hard to try and role model how to deal with mistakes when their main role model can't accept it either. He was raised in a family that never makes a mistake, they just are unlucky. It is maddening because as the spouse it ends up often being my fault or it is blamed on the kids. Sorry I got off topic a bit, but you can't change your husband only he can change and because it is so hard for him to think that anything is wrong he won't change.
    DS16 with ASD, DD12 and DS10

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Optimism and Resilience