Every parent must strive to raise a mentally strong child who will be capable of facing all the difficulties of life bravely and confidently. No matter how badly all the parents want to shield their children from every adverse situation and the countless problems of life, the little ones must eventually face everything that life throws at them by themselves.
The only way to ensure that the child can maturely handle all such difficult situations is to raise a mentally tough kid.
Mental strength will guide your child to overcome and come back stronger from all the setbacks. It will also help them to understand and take control of their feelings and emotions. Raising a mentally strong child will prepare them to become resilient adults later on. Many psychologists opine that positive mental health and mental wellness often lays the foundation for self-awareness and faster learning.
Why should you make your kids mentally strong?
- A kid who is mentally strong also grows up to be a strong person.
- The kid can take strong-headed decisions at all times.
- They will know how to cope with unwanted and uncertain situations.
- They will grow up to be better and matured than many other kids.
Strategies to Raise Kids to be Mentally Strong
The few golden strategies that may help you to guide your child to become mentally strong are
Keen focus and interest on your child strengths and their skills
Psychologically it is often more reinforcing and encouraging to tell someone what their talents are rather than telling them what they can’t perform or accomplish. The same applies to your child. Boost their self-confidence by encouraging them to focus on their strengths rather than making them fearful and anxious by constantly telling them or reminding them of their weak areas. Self-confidence can be the key to developing a positive outlook in life.
If your kid is preparing for an exam, don’t remind them of their past mistakes or constantly nag them to not fail but rather instill a feeling of confidence and calmness in your kid by reminding them that they have practiced well for the exam. Tell your child that you know they will ace that exam because they have prepared well.
If your child wants to go out and climb a rope, don’t tell that it will lead to them falling and getting injured but rather remind them to use proper hand-eye coordination while climbing and tell them that you are confident that your kid will be able to successfully climb ropes with their skills. Instilling confidence and pointing out the strength and skills of your kid will make them have faith in themselves and they will be able to deal with difficult challenges with a positive attitude.
Help your child to understand and recognize their triggers
We often see many adults that have no idea about their stresses or mental triggers and thus they live their lives with a lot of negative emotions and face its consequences. That is why you should try to teach your kid from a young age the practice of mindfulness.
You should equip your child with the powerful tool of understanding their emotions, triggers, and the underlying causes of their negative feelings. This will help your child to understand themselves better right from a young age and they will be able to cope with their negative emotions in a much healthy and positive manner.
For example, your child may not be able to get along with any of their classmates and this can result in them losing their temper or getting into fights. If you make your child understand why they are having trouble getting along or what triggers them to lose temper, they will understand their emotions better and this will enable them to deal with the situation more calmly.
Developing problem-solving skills
No matter how badly you want to but you can’t always stick around to solve every problem in your child’s life for them. They will eventually have to solve their problems alone and overcome them with their skills. That is why you should try it to develop their vital problem-solving skills and give them lots of opportunities to hone that skill.
When teaching or helping them with their homework, don’t keep providing them with the solutions. Make them understand how to solve and tackle one question and explain to them how a particular formula or method can be used in similar questions. Then let them solve the rest of their homework on their own. This will help them to solve the problems by themselves rather than being dependent on your solutions all the time. The same applies to any in difficult situations in life.
Your kid may face problems while working with an uncooperative group project member. Instead of trying to solve this problem by yourself ask them to come up with different approaches on how to deal with that member and then provide your input.
Don’t paint a picture of a life filled with only sunshine and rainbows for your kid but rather teach them to gladly accept the difficult parts of life and guide them to brave any tough situation with a positive mindset. Your child should know that life is full of ups, downs, challenges, setbacks, and triumphs and they should be prepared for it all. Teach them to find the silver lining in every adverse situation.
Foster a practice of focusing on the positive side of any situation for it will help them to get out of a vicious cycle of negative thoughts. This will allow them to be in command of their emotions instead of letting their emotions and fears control them.
For example; if your child scores poor marks or fails in one of the exams, help them to look at the positive side of that situation. Tell them to you take it in good stride. Remind them to learn from this experience so that they can improve the scores by working harder. Tell them that later there will be plenty of opportunities to score better.
Discuss their feelings and validate them
Mentally strong people don’t run from their feelings but rather acknowledge them. Mental strength is not about pushing away the negative feelings of sadness, fear, and disappointment but learning to accept them and working with them. A positive outlook is important but so is teaching your child that all the negative emotions are normal and there is no need to run from them.
Discuss their negative feelings with them and guide them to cope with those feelings. Instead of telling them that their feelings are not valid or using vague statements like “Why are you sad? There’s no need to be sad.” or “Don’t worry, things will be fine”, it is more important to tell them that whatever they are feeling in that situation is normal and that everyone goes through those feelings.
Remind them that you are always there to help them and comfort them. Teach them that their feelings don’t necessarily define them but rather how they choose to deal with those feelings.
Let them make mistakes
Every parent wants their kid to succeed in life and always tries to protect them from making mistakes. But making mistakes is the only way to learn from them. Mistakes help children to develop resilience and mistakes teach children ways to overcome them in the future.
Don’t try to save them from trouble by doing their work for them, instead let them face the consequences of their mistakes because those consequences will teach them to not repeat the same mistake and it will teach them to be more responsible.
Become a role model of mental stamina
Children learn the most from their parents. The mental strength and mental discipline of the parents often pave the way for the same in children. As a parent, it is very important to be able to control your reactions to stressful situations and triggers.
For example; if your child gives you a hard time, don’t lose your temper and shout at them or ignore them. You should rather try to patiently make your child calmly and rationally understand the consequences of their behavior. Parenting is not an easy task and comes with its own set of difficulties. Try to be in a controlled state in front of your children.
If you find yourself losing your cool; stay away from your child for some time, resolve your emotions, and then come back to your child. It is very important to make sure that you are doing mentally well. Carve some time out of your busy schedule for your mental health. You can either take some time off to spend time with a loved one, exercise, meditate, visit a therapist, or indulge in self-care.
Teach your kid to practice healthy self-talk
Constantly engaging in unhealthy self-talk can be very harmful to mental health. If your child is losing confidence or predicting negative outcomes for themselves, teach your kid to practice kind and healthy self-talk. Make them reframe their negative thoughts and introduce a realistic and positive outlook.
Build a strong character and develop a moral compass in your child
Reinforce positive values regularly. Instead of making your child become a slave to unhealthy competition, teach them that honesty and empathy are much more valuable than winning at all costs. Such children grow up to become stronger and kinder adults.
Watch good films and videos with your kid
Kids tend to do what they see. As a parent, you can show your videos that are kid child-friendly and entertaining yet motivating to teach them mental resilience. Start with short videos to develop attention and interest, and then start showing longer videos and films.
Along with these golden rules, some things can adversely affect the mental health of your child so keep the following in mind:
Being overprotective will only make your child dependent on you. Rather teach them to solve their problems and let them deal with their mistakes. This way they ill learn to not repeat the same in the future.
Never compare your child’s progress with that of other siblings, relatives, or peers. This often fosters an environment of hostility and negativity. Instead of gaining self-confidence, your child will always live under the shadow of doubting their abilities.
Never ignore your child’s thoughts and emotions. Validate their feelings and don’t brush them away by making negative judgments.
What can I avoid to prevent hindering the mental strength of my kid?
Don’t try to solve every problem that your kid faces Let them the vital problem-solving skills but at the same time don’t make them solely responsible for every action. Don’t let them get away with misbehaving or praise them unrealistically. Don’t make them believe things that are unrealistic.
What phrases should I avoid while raising a mentally strong kid?
Don’t use vague phrases such as “It’s not a big deal” or “There is no reason for you to be sad” or “It will be fine”. Phrases like these will shut your kid off and they will not be able to express their emotions and feelings properly.
Can kids develop mental disorders or mental illness?
Yes, kids can suffer from mental illness because their brains and coping mechanisms are developing at this stage. Wrong parenting techniques, hostile environment, or sudden traumatic incidents can have an adverse effect on the mental health of kids.
How commonly prevalent are mental health problems among children?
In Canada, 1 out of every 5 that is almost 20% of the children suffers from some mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, learning disorder, etc.