The Optimistic Child

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Overview

The epidemic of depression in America strikes 30% of all children. Now Martin E. P. Seligman, the best-selling author of Learned Optimism, and his colleagues offer parents and educators a program clinically proven to cut that risk in half. With this startling new research, parents can teach children to apply optimism skills that can curb depression, boost school performance, and improve physical health. These skills provide children with the resilience they need to approach the teenage years and adulthood with ...
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The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience

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Overview

The epidemic of depression in America strikes 30% of all children. Now Martin E. P. Seligman, the best-selling author of Learned Optimism, and his colleagues offer parents and educators a program clinically proven to cut that risk in half. With this startling new research, parents can teach children to apply optimism skills that can curb depression, boost school performance, and improve physical health. These skills provide children with the resilience they need to approach the teenage years and adulthood with confidence. Over the last thirty years the self-esteem movement has infiltrated American homes and classrooms with the credo that supplying positive feedback, regardless of the quality of performance, will make children feel better about themselves. But in this era of raising our children to feel good, the hard truth is that they have never been more depressed. As Dr. Seligman writes in this provocative new book, "Our children are experiencing pessimism, sadness, and passivity on

The epidemic of depression in America strikes 30 percent of all children. Now, the bestselling author of Learned Optimism and his colleagues offer parents and educators a clinically proven program which provides children with the skills they need to approach the teenage years and adulthood with confidence.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
Seligman's recent research profoundly demonstrates that children can be taught techniques of optimistic thinking that, in effect, 'depression-proofs' them.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
According to noted psychologist Seligman Learned Optimism, 30% of American children suffer from depression. Further, his studies demonstrate that ``pessimistic children are at much higher risk for becoming depressed than optimistic children.'' His mission here is to teach parents and other concerned adults how to instill in children a sense of optimism and personal mastery. Seligman discounts prevalent theory that children who are encouraged by others to feel good about themselves will do well. Instead, he proposes that self-esteem comes from mastering challenges, overcoming frustration and experiencing individual achievement. In clear, concise prose peppered with anecdotes, dialogues, cartoons and exercises, Seligman offers a concrete plan of action based on techniques of self-evaluation and social interaction. He describes the development of the Penn Depression Prevention Program, in which school kids are taught ways to divest themselves of pessimistic approaches and adopt optimistic ones, and adapts it to home use by parents. While a few of the exercises may seem daunting to parents, this encouraging volume moves beyond popular self-help tomes and ideology to offer hope and practical suggestions; it will be of great value to teachers as well. First serial rights to Ladies' Home Journal and Parents magazine; author tour. Sept.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395693803
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/20/1995
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of several books, including Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness. He is past president of the American Psychological Association as well as the division of clinical psychology of the American Psychological Association, and former director of clinical training in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Why Children Need Optimism
1 The Promissory Note 1
2 From the First Step to the First Date 10
3 Building the Team 19
Pt. 2 Where Boomer Child Rearing Went Wrong
4 The Self-Esteem Movement 27
5 The Epidemic of Depression 37
Pt. 3 Is Your Child an Optimist or a Pessimist?
6 The Fundamentals of Optimism 49
7 Measuring Optimism 67
8 Where Optimism Comes From 95
Pt. 4 How to Raise Children to Optimism and Mastery
9 The Penn Prevention Program 115
10 Changing Your Child's Automatic Pessimism 133
11 Changing Your Child's Explanatory Style 162
12 Disputing and Decatastrophizing 194
13 Boosting Your Child's Social Skills 231
Pt. 5 The Children of the Twenty-first Century
14 The Pyramid of Optimism: Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers 277
15 The Limits of Optimism 295
Notes 303
Acknowledgments 317
Index 323
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2007

    Proven Program to Help Children Avoid Depression

    Through a series of studies and test groups, Seligman has developed a program to 'innoculate' at-risk children from depression. In The Optimistic Child, Seligman reveals his program whereby children can learn to question their own negative thoughts and de-catastrophize situations in order to better resolve problems. Self-esteem is learned not through meaningless feel-good phrases but through 'mastery' and genuine praise appropriately scaled for the situation. Although Seligman's program is meant for the pre-teen set, a section at the end gives advice for parents of younger children. This book will be a great resource for any parent and is easy to read and apply.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2000

    Wonderful Book! It will definately help my family.

    My husband has been diagnosed with long-term depression and I was very fearful it would become genetic, as his father was also severely depressed and for long term. I was beginning to see some of the signs in my 5 yr old son and bought this book, hoping to help my son. After 4 chapters, I could see that this book would help tremendously! It seemed that following the advice of so many so-called experts wasn't helping, the build the self-esteem theory. Dr. Seligman seems to be dead on the money with his advice regarding allowing the kids to build their own self-esteem! If I can get my husband to read it, I am hoping it will give him some self-awareness to begin healing himself.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2007

    A must read ...

    This book changed my life. I've bought so many copies to give to others and recommended it to countless others because it's that good. Originally, I bought my first copy because the title intrigued me, and I thought my son needed a little optimism. But as usually happens when you try to improve others, you end up finding out things about yourself you never realized. The Optimistic Child provides the reader with an easy-to-follow approach for changing the negative, self-defeating thoughts that cause depression into rational, self-empowering assessments. It's easy to read, and its methods are easy to implement and very effective.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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