Dan’s Insights & Tips



Strategies for Parents

Cultivate Positive Emotions at Home

In every household, there lies a reservoir of untapped potential waiting to be nurtured. As parents, the environment you create at home plays a crucial role in shaping the emotional well-being and overall development of your tween or teen. Positive emotions are the foundation upon which resilience and success are built.

Renowned psychologist Barbara Fredrickson identified ten core positive emotions: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. These emotions not only enhance day-to-day experiences but also significantly contribute to mental health and well-being. According to Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build Theory, positive emotions expand our awareness and encourage exploratory thoughts and actions. This broadened mindset helps build lasting psychological, cognitive, and social resources that foster resilience.

Teens today face a multitude of challenges—academic pressures, social media influence, peer pressure, and the ongoing quest for self-identity. These stressors can become “monkeys on their backs” weighing them down. As parents, you have the power to help your children get these monkeys off their backs and cultivate a home environment rich in positive emotions.

Here are five practical strategies to cultivate positive emotions at home:


Connection is the cornerstone of building a thriving environment for your teen. It is the foundation upon which all other strategies rest. As Josh Shipp wisely said, “Every kid is only one caring adult from being a success story.” For me, that caring adult was my dad (and my mum). Their relentless effort to connect with me profoundly shaped my journey and ultimately contributed to my success.

My dad’s commitment was unwavering. I remember the countless times he knocked on my door, just to be there for me. He showed up, continually, with tenacity and patience. At first, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference, but over time, these small acts of care compounded, yielding incredible results. My parents invested their time, demonstrating their care through presence and persistence, even when it didn’t immediately reap fruit. The significance of their dedication lies not just in the time they spent, but in the quality of the connection they fostered. This connection created a safe space for me to open up and reach out for help when I needed it. It also provided them with greater influence and ease in equipping me with the tools I needed to navigate life’s challenges. Without that positive relationship, their efforts to guide and support me would have been much more difficult.

For parents, showing that you care is more than just spending time together. It’s about speaking different love languages and building a level of intimacy that encourages teens to open up. The connection you cultivate with your teen is crucial for their development and well-being, and it’s the starting point for truly caring for them. By investing time and effort, even when you’re tired or busy, you create a lasting impact that helps your teen thrive. 

Practical Suggestions:

  • Daily Check-Ins: Set aside time each day for a casual chat with your teen. Ask about their day, their challenges, and their successes. This can be during dinner, a walk, or before bedtime.
  • Active Listening: Show genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings. Avoid interrupting and offer empathetic responses. Phrases like “I understand how you feel” or “That sounds challenging” can validate their emotions.
  • Share Your Experiences: Relate to their experiences by sharing your own “recent” challenges and how you overcame them. This not only humanises you but also provides valuable life lessons. Avoid using the phrase “when I was your age”. It’s the quickest way to disconnect.

Your teen may feel overwhelmed by schoolwork and extracurricular activities. By maintaining open communication, you can help them prioritise tasks and manage their time more effectively. They might struggle with peer relationships and social dynamics. Active listening and empathetic conversations can provide the support they need to navigate these challenges.


“Children spell love T.I.M.E”

(Dr Anthony P Whitham)



The foundation of positive emotions at home starts with creating a safe and inclusive environment where your teen feels valued and respected. Teens often face anxiety and fear of judgment, which can hinder their participation and engagement. They might feel isolated due to cultural, social, or personal differences.

Practical suggestions:

  • Family Rituals: Establish family rituals that promote bonding and security, such as weekly game nights, family dinners, or movie marathons.
  • Inclusive Atmosphere: Celebrate each family member’s uniqueness and encourage acceptance. Discuss diversity and inclusivity to foster a respectful environment.
  • Stress-Relief Space: Designate a quiet corner in your home where your teen can retreat to relax and unwind. Equip it with comfortable seating, books, and calming items like stress balls or journals.

Your teen may experience anxiety before exams or social events. Providing a stress-relief space can help them manage their anxiety. They might feel isolated due to cultural or social differences. Creating an inclusive atmosphere and celebrating diversity can help them feel more accepted and valued.


“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.”

(Barbara Johnson)



Helping your teen become comfortable with their emotions and develop emotional regulation skills is essential for their well-being. Teens often struggle with identifying and expressing their emotions, leading to frustration and behavioural issues. They may lack the skills to manage their emotions effectively.

Practical suggestions:

  • Emotion Journals: Encourage your teen to keep an emotion journal where they can write about their daily feelings and experiences. This practice promotes self-awareness and emotional regulation.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Incorporate mindfulness exercises into the daily routine. For example, start or end the day with a short meditation or breathing exercise to help your teen centre themselves.
  • Role-Playing: Use role-playing scenarios to help your teen practice responding to various emotional situations. This can improve their problem-solving skills and emotional resilience.

Your teen may experience mood swings due to hormonal changes. Mindfulness practices can help them stay grounded and balanced. They might struggle with anger and frustration. Role-playing scenarios can equip them with tools to handle these emotions constructively.


“Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf”

(Jonatan Martensson)



Positive peer relationships are vital for your teen’s emotional well-being. Encouraging healthy social interactions can help them build a supportive network. Teens may encounter conflicts, bullying, or social anxiety that affects their ability to form positive relationships with peers.

Practical suggestions:

  • Facilitate Social Activities: Encourage your teen to participate in group activities or clubs that interest them. This can help them meet like-minded peers and build friendships.
  • Host Social Gatherings: Organise social gatherings at your home where your teen can invite friends. These events can help strengthen their social bonds in a safe environment.
  • Teach Social Skills: Discuss the importance of empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution. Role-play different scenarios to help your teen develop these skills.

Your teen may face bullying at school. By teaching them social skills and facilitating positive interactions, you can help them build resilience against bullying. They might struggle with feelings of loneliness. Hosting social gatherings and encouraging participation in group activities can help them develop a strong social network.


“Humans need community for our emotional health. We need connection and a sense of belonging. We are not build to thrive in isolation”

(Ann Napolitano)



In a digital age, it’s essential to find a balance between online and offline activities. Encouraging your teen to engage in joyful, offline activities can enhance their overall well-being and reduce the monkeys of screen addiction and social media pressure.

Practical suggestions:

  • Family Adventures: Plan regular family outings or adventures, such as hiking, biking, or visiting local attractions. These activities can provide a fun and refreshing break from screens.
  • Creative Pursuits: Encourage your teen to explore creative hobbies like painting, playing a musical instrument, or crafting. These activities can spark joy and promote self-expression.
  • Physical Activities: Promote physical activities such as sports, yoga, or dance. Physical exercise not only boosts mood but also reduces stress and anxiety.

Your teen may spend excessive time on screens, leading to decreased physical activity and social interaction. Planning family adventures and encouraging creative hobbies can provide healthier alternatives. They might feel pressured to maintain a certain image on social media. Engaging in offline activities can help them disconnect and focus on their real-life interests and relationships.


“The most important work that you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes.”

(Harold B. Lee)


To conclude, Cultivating positive emotions at home is not just about creating a joyful atmosphere; it’s about empowering your teen to thrive emotionally, socially, and academically. By implementing these five practical strategies, you can transform your home into a vibrant, supportive, and joyful environment.

Remember, every teen faces their own set of “monkeys” or challenges that can weigh them down. As parents, you have the power to help them get those monkeys off their backs and create a pathway to resilience, success, and well-being.

I’ll leave you with the inspiring words of Barbara Fredrickson:


“Positivity doesn’t just change the contents of your mind. It widens the possibilities that you see”

(Barbara Fredrickson)


By fostering positive emotions, you are not only enhancing the growing-up experience and contributing to the development of well-rounded, emotionally intelligent, and resilient individuals, but also expanding their vision of ‘what could be,’ setting them up to realise their full potential.

Share This

Daniel is an award-winning international speaker, trainer, transformational coach, and author, specialising in wellbeing and leadership.

Daniel has developed clever and fun ways to engage, empower and equip thousands of people worldwide  – from students, parents, educators to corporate professionals and business entrepreneurs –  to get the monkeys off their back and thrive. He has been featured on radio and media outlets, and his work has also been acknowledged in NSW Parliament.

Daniel is an accredited Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), an international designation that recognises the experience and professional capability of Australia’s leading speakers.  Daniel is also an accredited Mental Health First Aid Trainer.

To order Daniel’s book Get the Monkeys off Your Backclick here. For more information on Daniel’s school programs, click here. For corporate programs, click here.

Related Posts

Subscribe & THRIVE - Receive Daniel's Best Stuff

Daniel loves to share regular tips and insights that inspire tenacity, optimism and empowerment in others to become the leader of their life and THRIVE.