Dear Grandparenting: Something good came over my granddaughter Linda in California. The old Linda was a load, if you know what I mean. She was moody and irritable and mostly kept to herself.
The new Linda is much happier. She actually sits down and talks and laughs with the rest of the family. I spent a week out there during Thanksgiving. When I told her she seemed happier, Linda said that she heard about “positive psychology” in high school and reads about it on her own.
That’s a new one on me. I am not big believer in psychology mumbo jumbo. But seeing is believing, and that girl really has changed. Is this stuff legitimate or phony baloney? Jen Anderson, Marshall, Michigan
Dear Jen: Psychologists once confined themselves to fixing things gone wrong like mental and behavioral disorders. Decades of study made many less miserable but not necessarily happier.
Past President of the American Psychological Association Martin Seligman and others in the profession added a new dimension to the psychological toolkit in the 1990s, beating the drum for positive psychology tools and techniques shown to make individuals happier and more confident with an enhanced sense of wellbeing. Seligman’s contributions include the concepts of “learned helplessness” and “learned optimism.”
Principles of positive psychology have since been wrapped into school curriculums. That seems like a good idea, coming at a time when educators report record levels of stress in student populations.
Here’s another benefit of positive psychology that may interest grandparents. It promotes civility, a quality in mighty short supply. Respect your elders.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Nikki Robinson, of Sidney, Ohio, remembers when grandson Monty, 6, was a picky eater, but “everything changed after I bought a children’s cookbook. Monty and I began planning meals together. He got to pick recipes and check out all the ingredients. We started by cooking meatballs that Monty ate with an ice-cream scoop.”
Six months later, “Monty eats with the best of them and his reading ability is much better too, all thanks to those cookbooks. I just bought him another.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-828-7451.