By Amy Morin (verywellfamily.com)
Mentally strong kids are prepared for the challenges of the world. They’re able to tackle problems, bounce back from failure, and cope with hardships.
To be clear, mental strength isn't about acting tough or suppressing emotions. It's also not about being unkind or acting defiant.
Instead, mentally strong kids are resilient and they have the courage and confidence to reach their full potential.
Helping kids develop mental strength requires a three-pronged approach: teaching them to replace negative thoughts with more realistic thoughts, helping them learn to control their emotions so their emotions don’t control them, and showing them how to take positive action.
There are many parenting strategies, discipline techniques, and teaching tools that help kids build mental muscle. Here are 10 strategies that will help your child develop the strength he needs to become a mentally strong adult:
1. Teach Specific Skills
Discipline should be about teaching your kids to do better next time, not making them suffer for their mistakes. Use consequences that teach specific skills, such as problem-solving skills, impulse control, and self-discipline. These skills will help your child learn to behave productively, even when he’s faced with temptation, tough circumstances, and difficult setbacks.
2. Let Your Child Make Mistakes
Teach your child that mistakes are part of the learning process so he doesn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed for getting something wrong. Allow for natural consequences when it’s safe to do so and talk about how to avoid repeating the same mistake next time.
3. Teach Your Child How to Develop Healthy Self-Talk
It’s hard for kids to feel mentally strong when they’re bombarding themselves with put-downs or when they’re predicting catastrophic outcomes. Teach your child to reframe negative thoughts so she can think more realistically. Developing a realistic yet optimistic outlook can help kids get through time times and perform at their peak.
4. Encourage Your Child to Face Fears Head-On
If your child avoids anything scary, she'll never gain the confidence she needs to handle feeling uncomfortable. Whether your child is afraid of the dark, or she is terrified to meet new people, help your child face her fears one small step at a time. Cheer her on, praise her efforts, and reward her for being brave and she'll learn that she's a capable kid who can handle stepping outside her comfort zone.
5. Allow Your Child to Feel Uncomfortable
Although it can be tempting to help a child whenever she's struggling, rescuing her from distress will reinforce to her that she's helpless. Let your child lose, allow her to feel bored, and insist she be responsible even when she doesn't want to. With support and guidance, struggles can help...(click here continue reading)