Influence is a powerful thing. It is the very factor responsible for shaping a resilient mind, and yet also the one thing that resilience is being formed to protect the psyche against. Raising assertive, capable free thinkers and problem solvers who think, act and live independently of the opinions of others takes parenting focused on building mental strength. We’ll be taking a look at how to be mentally strong and convey the same emotional, social and logical self-supportive strength to your kids.
Mentally strong kids are assertive self-starters capable of dealing with anything the world may throw at them. While developing mental fortitude and strength of character is a journey, one arrives as an empowered, curious, outspoken adult at the final destination. Every parent wants to know that their children are well-taken care of throughout their lives, and the only way to do this is to raise them with a focused priority on independence and healthy social and emotional skills.
Developing healthy parenting habits creates a slope of development that naturally instills strength and resilience through a range of qualities and key characteristics. Mental strength manifests in many different ways. Here are some of the primary benefits of an upbringing focused on raising resilient kids.
One of the foremost ways that you’ll notice that a child is raised to be mentally strong will be assertiveness. Kids with well-rounded social and emotional development are self-sufficient, proactive, and feel in control of their lives and abilities. Their awareness is open and eager enough to both seize and create opportunities.
Fear of change most often arises from uncertainty over our own capabilities or authority. Knowing yourself well leaves no room for rigidity. A strong child will blossom into a flexible, accommodating adult with enough insight to adapt to almost any situation. New experiences will be seized for all they’re worth, with nothing in the way of realizing, enjoying, and harnessing the full scope of whatever may be happening.
Willpower isn’t something that can be forced or conjured out of thin air. Strength of will builds over time. As we begin to learn that we can trust ourselves, making small steps towards our goals while sticking to our word, it will become easier and easier to make decisions. Decisions that we commit to and carry through. With the ability to do what you will come to the art of refusal – a skill that’s not hard to muster once a child is resiliently determined and in tune with their affinities and feelings. Time has value, and once a child values their time, they’ll know how to say no.
Unrealistic expectations for other people or life, in general, come from an unrealistic upbringing. Children sheltered from the world and coddled along every major step in their lives lose the strength of will and the scope of reasoning needed to make decisions and take action, fruiting tangible results. They’ll assess their own capabilities and the strengths of others far more accurately.
A voice needs to be used to be heard, and without hearing their own voice, a child will never gain true confidence free from ego. Speaking up helps one recognize the weight of their own opinion, developing key social skills that will lead to a natural, communicable social presence and a voice that holds charismatic authority.
Life is a rollercoaster. Your kids will have ups and downs. It’s how they deal with their emotions that will set them apart from the rest. A well-rounded child will keep their cool and remain calm in difficult situations. Focus will come quickly, with mentally strong children sustaining concentration and a good work ethic throughout emotionally turbulent and prosperous times alike.
A child who understands the repercussions of their actions and the widescale implications of responsibility will make the right choices naturally, holding themselves accountable in all situations. Accountability and a willful intent to be responsible have nothing to do with the outside world but rather one’s view of their own standing in life. Help kids realize this, and they’ll always want to be better, therefore, doing better day by day.
Raise children to cherish the presence of others around them. Emotionally strong children approach others with confidence and inherent respect, seeking collaboration and cooperative relationships by default. Acknowledging the strengths of others breeds gratitude and helps children to realize the potential in others, a trait that makes the realistic value of their own accomplishments easier to determine.
Nothing will be able to get in the way of a strong-willed child. Once your kids begin to learn that obstacles are nothing more than stepping stones towards success, they will become more determined. Provide honest but gentle insight and advice while coaxing children to step outside of their comfort zone. The more comfortable they become in taxing situations, the more they’ll be able to thrive under pressure while others cave and crumble.
Failure cannot be accepted as an insurmountable obstacle or a measure of one’s worth. Teach children the full implications of failing and the opportunities that arise given the insight of hindsight, and they’ll never be demotivated or diminished by their failures.
Here are ten of the best snippets of insight any parent can be armed with to help you raise tough and mentally strong kids.
Lead by example. Live the person you want them to be, striving to uphold resilience and mental strength in all things that you do. We are all human and inevitably experience many shortcomings. It’s not about being the perfect example but rather a role model that holds steadfast to the values and principles you’re putting forth.
Ignoring our emotions leads to instability. Acknowledging that they’re there is the first step to processing unfamiliar feelings, improving our emotional intelligence over time, making all future happenings easier to handle. Kids need to know new emotions are normal and that feelings need to be felt to be understood. Even uncomfortable ones. Without that realization sinking in, it can become increasingly easier to become overwhelmed.
Gratitude “coats” the mind, protecting it against anxiety, anger, irritability, and all other icky things. The best thing that you can do to help your children combat negativity is taught them to actively show gratitude for aspects of their life on a daily basis. A gratitude journal is an indispensable weapon against anything that could offset an otherwise strong positive mindset.
If you don’t set realistic expectations for your kids and communicate them clearly, there’s little chance your children will be realistic in their own expectations. Setting the bar too high or too low will create intimidating or carefree precedence, neither of which serves as a motivator for personal growth and communication within the family.
The guidance given early in life sets a blueprint for tomorrow. Ensure that your children are motivated self-starters by guiding them through actionable steps towards their aspirations and goals. Lead them towards goals they can reach, breaking down long-term hopes into milestones. Kids need to see first-hand that decisions backed by determinate actions fruit results they can rely on. Without leading them towards attainable goals, every hope may end up looking like a pipe dream.
Children can be changeable, shifting interests rapidly. Support them in all things that they do, showing a healthy level of interest. It’s completely normal for our little ones to explore a multitude of hobbies, subjects, and experiences, jumping between interests faster than they change clothes during certain periods of their lives. Ensure that they know you are there with loving support while supplying a steady stream of stimulation that matches their unique personality. Just because they don’t seem to have any new interests, this doesn’t mean all-new fascinations can’t be cunningly introduced.
Now, this tip for raising mentally strong kids is one that you probably have heard before, but the importance can’t be overstated. Every mistake is an opportunity for growth that will become a stepping stone in your child’s mental, emotional, and social development. Remind your kids about their responsibilities and stay aware of the steps they take to solve problems, but ultimately give them enough space to falter and learn from the consequences of their actions as well.
Developing thinking skills is a practice that we continue to evolve for the rest of our lives. Make sure they’re interested enough from the start. Start your kids off with a solid foundation of social stimulation, education, and activities designed to exercise their minds. Planned experiences that encourage collaboration, problem-solving and creative team building within circles of family and friends are all essential to good socio-emotional development.
Promote positive thoughts and a grateful mindset throughout daily life, teaching children to reframe negative ideas and statements to positive ones as a habit. There is no room for negativity in a productive, joyful mind, and if you help your children form a habit of reframing negativity, less and less trepidation, social anxiety, and uncertainty will be able to take root.
Teaching children mindfulness from a young age broadens their awareness while improving attention spans, honing cognitive focus, and fortifying emotional regulation. Introduce a mindset that stays conscious and appreciative of the present moment, and there will be little chance of your kids growing into anxious, inflexible, or irritable adults. Mindfulness holds so many widespread benefits uplifting the whole of life that it is currently an accepted subject for tertiary students in Harvard and all other leading universities.
The way that a person speaks subtly reveals their attitude towards life. Speaking in a passive voice hints toward an indirect approach and a personality that questions its own authority. Passivity inhibits proactivity, which is why parents should always be direct in the way that they speak to their children. Set an example that enables them to live in the present moment instead of ruminating and reflecting on uncertainty, indecision, yesterday and tomorrow, through their language.
A healthy, happy child won’t be happy all the time. Teach your kids that it is okay to feel uncomfortable, shaping a mindset that manages comfortability rather than suffering it. We control our feelings and need to make the conscious choice to change the way that we feel. Give your kids enough personal space to process their emotions but at the same time, never let them forget the power of choice and how they can always move to a good place of feeling.
Children need to be seen and heard. Even a quiet, content child needs the opportunity and motivation to speak up. Speaking up allows children to gain perspective, clarifying their own understanding while gathering feedback and opinions from others. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing form a symbiotic relationship essential to all communication and expression. Reaching a high level of proficiency in rendering thoughts as spoken word exercises the mind while developing contemplative confidence.
Let children make their own decisions within a reasonable scope of responsibility so that they see the outcome for themselves and gain confidence through the learning experience. Not every decision will turn out as expected, which is a key lesson that children need to develop realistic expectations. The more power you give kids over their own lives, the more they will learn their own talents, capabilities, and preferences.
Self-improvement doesn’t stop. The sooner kids realize how beneficial and stimulating it is to improve themselves as a person, the more natural practices like gratitude, appreciation for others, realistic goal setting, and proactivity will become.
Now that we’ve covered all of the important things you should do to raise mentally strong kids, here’s a look at the “Do Not’s”.
We would actually go as far as saying, never speak to your child in anger. Domineering parenting styles and attitudes that ostracize children isolating their faults, will demolish willpower and confidence. Instead, pay attention to the motivators behind their actions and relate on an emotional level to rectify any behavior you consider out-of-line.
Children will always push your limits in a natural attempt to discover boundaries. While seemingly trivial, these boundaries set limits within their own minds, subtly establishing social norms. Don’t play into their drama, and please refrain from coddling your kids. A “smother” or overbearing dad does more harm than good.
There will always be times when things don’t work out as planned. Explaining the situation and dealing with it is completely different from fobbing off responsibility with an excuse. Do not tolerate excuses. It creates a lasting bad habit and weakens both willpower and a child’s ability to express and trust themselves.
As children grow older, it becomes increasingly easier to blur the lines between accepted behavior and normal behavior. After all, “normal” is highly subjective. The best way to give your kids the guidance they need to naturally choose the most positive path is to instill good morals. Kids need to understand the social implications of misbehavior, empathizing with those around them in good judgment.
Managing fears is a social skill that every child needs to learn. Don’t allow kids to be crippled into inaction by their fears. Demotivation is simply being overcome by an unseen obstacle – one that you can help them overcome. However, don’t fight all their battles – pick your involvement carefully. Insist on persistence and lead by example.
One of the easiest ways to give oneself an instant feeling of relief is to quit. That doesn’t mean that quitting is the right thing to do. It seldom is ever, unless a strong-willed keen-minded adult knows when to cut their losses. The release of immediate pressure may feel like a relief, but it’s actually false, creating a gap that will soon be filled with mountains of anxiety, leading to even more problems.
Mistakes are unavoidable. Without faltering, we cannot learn and grow. Teach kids the value of a positive mindset, helping them realize how one cannot progress from a point of despair, anger, irritability, or any negative state. Children who learn how to pick themselves up and relish in lessons learned will continue to reach higher and higher pinnacles of success for the rest of their lives.
Don’t pay kids for doing their chores or reaching intermediate points of personal advancement. Sure, achievements are there to be celebrated, serving as motivation for all markers to come but draw a line between ongoing progress and success.
Low self-esteem is a massive warning sign for a plethora of potential underlying issues. Each one of them connects to a child who hasn’t developed mentally strong. Happy at home doesn’t mean being satisfied at school or uplifted by peers and the happenings of daily life. If your child starts to show signs of estrangement, it’s time for more open conversation and lots of communication.
An overlooked child will find other ways to be heard. Deviant behavior is, in many cases, nothing more than a child who feels they’ve run out of options. Dealing with new feelings and emotional growth is confusing enough to a well-rounded child. Unless there’s a good family dynamic and an accommodating attitude from a child’s parents, kids can feel undervalued, making a long-lasting dent in their confidence.
Mental toughness largely translates to a happy life. Battles are won in the mind no matter where the war is being fought. Validate your children as the strong, independent beings that they are, and they will both see and bring out those same qualities in themselves and others. Do you have any tips for raising mentally strong kids? We encourage you to share your insight in the comments below.
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