Setbacks, hardship, and challenges are inevitable. Teaching children to build mental muscle can make them mentally strong and help them reach their full potential in life.
Raising mentally strong children that are equipped to take on real-world challenges requires parents to break unhealthy parenting habits.
Here’re 5 Things You Can Do to Help Your Children Become Mentally Strong:
– Teach them to manage their emotions
If you do not teach your children to manage their emotions, they will lack the skills to manage uncomfortable emotions such as anxiety, sadness and loneliness, and they will not feel emotionally prepared for the realities of life.
If you tell them, “It isn’t a big deal,” or “Do not be scared,” it will teach them that their feelings are wrong or that they cannot deal with their emotions.
So, you should educate them about their emotions and how those emotions affect them. Teach them to identify their feelings. Validate their emotions and teach them that they can choose how to manage their feelings.
If they can say, “I am feeling anxious and it makes me want to avoid things that are scary,” they will be better equipped to overcome their fears. They will also have a better understanding of how to manage their emotions and discomfort.
– Encourage them to identify negative thoughts and reframe them in a more realistic way
The way they think affects the way they feel and behave. Therefore, you should teach them how to handle their negative thoughts.
They may struggle with many of the same kinds of thoughts adults do—harsh criticism, self-doubt, and catastrophic thinking. So, you should never say things like, “Stop worrying”, when they express concerns.
You should teach them how to develop healthier self-talk. Teach them to think realistically, as it will make them more resilient and feel better about themselves.
If they think, “I will never be able to pass math class,” encourage them to reframe their negative thinking by telling themselves, “I can improve my math grade by doing my homework, studying hard, and asking for help.”
When they express exaggeratedly negative thoughts, catastrophic predictions, excessive self-blame, or self-doubt, teach them how to challenge their thoughts. Encourage them to identify negative thoughts and reframe them in a more realistic way.
– Do not let them exaggerate their misfortune or host pity parties
Teach them that failing a class or getting cut from the basketball team does not make them a victim. Let them know that unfairness, failure, and rejection are part of life.
Do not let them exaggerate their misfortune or host pity parties. Instead, motivate them to turn their struggles into strengths. Help them find ways in which they can take positive action, regardless of their circumstances.
– Allow them to make mistakes and face the natural consequences of their own actions
Whether they get a few questions wrong on their math homework or they forget to pack their cleats for soccer practice, teach them that mistakes are valuable life lessons. Allow them to make mistakes and face the natural consequences of their own actions.
– Motivate them to actively engage in problem-solving
It isn’t hard to swoop in and solve their problems for them. However, your children need opportunities to engage in problem-solving. So, do not bail them out when they encounter a problem. Instead, encourage them to develop their own solution.
Whether they struggle with a specific behavior problem or have difficulty getting along with the children at recess, brainstorm about 5 solutions as a team and help them choose a solution to try.
Showing your children how to be mentally strong is also one of the best ways to motivate them to develop mental strength. Be a good role model, talk about your own goals and exercise your mental muscles on a regular basis. Make mental strength and self-improvement a priority in your own life. It will inspire your children to grow stronger and become better version of themselves.