February 13, 2019

6 Strategies for Raising A Mentally Strong Kid

What do you think of when I refer to someone who is mentally strong? Unlike some opinions, raising a mentally strong child does not mean teaching them to suppress their emotions. It’s also not about teaching someone to not care, or to only look out for themselves.

Raising a mentally strong person requires being mentally strong yourself.

You’re resilient and able to bounce back from disappointment. You’re also empathetic and realistic when it comes to setting expectations for yourself and for others.

Being mentally strong means that you are cognitively empathetic and able to read and understand other peoples emotions and choices based on emotion and ration.

So what does it take to raise a mentally strong kid?

Here are 6 strategies that you can implement and teach your children how to be mentally strong and to eventually become healthy-minded adults.

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.

1. Problem Solve With Them

Disciplining should be about giving direction and learning from mistakes so that you can do better next time. It should not involve shaming of any kind. The best way to problem solve with your child is to be patient with them. Understand that they are beginners and any time someone learns something for the first time, they will likely encounter a few set backs and make a few mistakes. Teach your child how to problem solve. Ask them questions to help them think of the answer and help them learn different skills that will come in handy next time they encounter a road block.

2. Teach Them How To Reframe Negative Self-Talk

As I mentioned in the introduction, shaming anyone never works. You might think it does because that is what happened to you however there is countless research that shame only adds to the continuity of the unwanted behavior. It becomes a vicious cycle. Instead, teach your child how to change their negative thoughts into more realistic ones. By reframing a certain thought or behavior as “normal,” then problem solving with them to figure out how to reach their peak and face their dilemma head on, you are helping to grow your child’s resilience and capabilities in the future.

3. Allow Your Child To Feel Uncomfortable For Growth

Just like I’ve written before, that the way to growth is to learn how to feel comfortable when you’re uncomfortable, teach that same sentiment to your child. Let your child be bored and tell them they have to find a way to entertain themselves. Let them fail and then figure out how to succeed from that failure. Allow for certain fears (within reason,) so that your child can lean towards those fears and develop the confidence needed for healthy adulthood.

4. Teach Them How To Form Healthy Relationships

Modeling a healthy relationship among partners and spouses is the first step in teaching a child what a good relationship will look like when they are searching for significant others. Help your children learn to be social by encouraging play dates and sleep overs.

5. Reinforce Values and Generosity During Every Day Activities.

Teaching your child how to say please and thank you, along with helping them be grateful for what they have will help them develop an optimistic and positive mindset.

Don’t give into your child’s tantrums just because YOU are uncomfortable with what they are doing. Instead set boundaries around certain emotions and teach your child how to label and manage their uncomfortable emotions, on their own. Keep an emoji feelings chart in the house when they are young and ask them to pick a face. Then talk through it with them. No person should depend on someone else to regulate their mood.