What does it mean to be mentally strong? It means that you can rise above in the face of failure or hardship and not let your negative feelings dismantle you. Let’s talk about how to implement this in parenting and what it takes to raise mentally strong kids in a mentally challenging world.
Raising mentally strong kids in a mentally unstable world.
Everyone struggles with being mentally strong in the face of difficulty. And according to how one was raised, people all handle their struggles differently.
Some have everything they could need and want, yet still struggle mentally.
Statistics say that 18% of the population after the age of 18 will have some kind of mental illness, and that percentage is rapidly increasing, and the age becoming younger and younger.
You or someone you know most likely has suffered from depression or some kind of mental illness.
So, where do your kids fit into the equation? Is there a way to prepare them for the hardships of life and help them beat the odds of obtaining a mental illness at some point in their life?
There is so much hardship going on in this world that our kids will have to face. So much that causes a parent to start questioning if, instead of sending their kids to school, they should move out to the middle of nowhere and live like the Amish.
But before you go doing that, remember that sheltering your kids more won’t fix the problem.
At a certain age, their curiosity will get the best of them. So instead of keeping them from all things that could potentially harm them emotionally and mentally, why not equip them to face the world and all of its confusion with you by their side?
Shouldn’t this be our goal?
To prepare our kids for the world they WILL grow up in, not for the world WE WANT them to grow up in?
Why you need to be informed on what kids deal with today
We know as well as anyone how difficult life can be. And as different generations will experience different difficulties, it’s vital that we apply ourselves to our child’s generation, and not think they should or will grow up in the one we did.
When children are younger, it’s much easier to know what they need emotionally. They need snuggles, kisses, and a whole lot of love that is easy to give when they don’t talk back.
But as children grow older, and especially when they reach the age of 7 or 8, parents will need to better educate themselves on what their kids will face in today’s society and how they can helpfully guide them.
So join with me today as we talk about why it’s important to educate yourself so you can help your child thrive, emotionally and mentally, in a world that’s so confusing.
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Mentally Strong Kids Have Parents Who REFUSE to do These 8 Things
1. Keep them from experiencing hardship or failure
As a parent, it’s hard to see your child struggle with something.
When they are little, it’s our instinct to help them with something they can’t seem to do — like getting back up after falling down when they are learning to walk.
But what I realized, once I stepped back and let my kid struggle through something, he’s so much more capable than I anticipate.
Hardship and failure are a part of life. Instead of keeping them from anything and everything difficult, allow them to struggle, starting when they are young.
This will give them the skills to know that if something challenging comes their way, they can face it and get through it independently.
Now, keep in mind that your child’s personality type should filter some of this.
Some children are more sensitive than others. No one knows your kids like you, so make sure as you allow failure and hardship in your child’s life, don’t exacerbate them.
Be attentive to what they can handle.
It’s our job as parents to guide our kids, but don’t mistake that for doing everything for them.
One incredible way to help your child navigate their struggles is through journaling. Check out MY LIFE JOURNALS for kids.
2. Let them navigate their negative emotions alone
This ties hand in hand with the above. Letting your kids figure something out on their own doesn’t mean leaving them in the pit. Empathy is one of the best things you can bestow on your child.
Get in the hole with them, even if they brought it upon themselves, and help them see that they CAN get out and why they need to get out.
More often than not, parents have to do this with their children to show them that it’s okay to fail. To do that, we have to directly identify with them — go back to your childhood and try to remember what it’s like to experience certain things at that age. But DON’T try and fix them.
Ask them if they want your advice. If they don’t just leave it and show them you’re there for them.
That’s the beauty of being a parent. Most of what your child will experience is something we have been through at one point in our life.
Use it as a tool for parenting, but don’t disregard or lessen what they are going through either.
If you’re looking for a way to connect with your kids on a deeper level, check out this incredible dinner talk card game – OUR MOMENTS . Conversation starters that will resonate with your kids for emotional bonding and a great neutral way for them to open up to you. With questions like “If you were a superhero, who would you be?” you will find yourself laughing and uniquely connecting as a family.
3. Isolate them when they make a mistake
It’s easy to send a kid to their room when they have misbehaved. Now, I’m not saying you should never do that.
But part of the problem is that they become isolated. When isolated young kiddos turn into teens, they will associate isolation with bad behavior.
Again, this has a lot to do with knowing your child and what they can handle. If you’re going to do a time-out, have them stay in the same room as you. Don’t shut them in their room and leave them to figure out how to navigate their feelings alone.
Tell them you’ll wait there with them until they are ready to calm down and figure things out.
As they get older, they won’t feel isolated from you whenever they make a mistake or have big feelings, but instead, invite you in.
4. Let them think their failures define them
When a child messes up, in a big or small way, it’s vital that you go the distance with them. What does that mean?
When someone fails, their minds can go to dark places.
Assure them that it’s okay to fail. Point out ways YOU have failed. You can do this by apologizing to them any time you have wronged them — this also helps them learn how to take responsibility if their failure or mistake hurt someone else.
5. Leave them to figure out their problems alone
Let’s say your tween didn’t turn in his homework on time, and you received a letter from the teacher that he needs to finish it; otherwise, he will fail.
Do you think you should continue to remind him, even though you had been for the past week? Or let him try and remember himself and suffer the consequences if he doesn’t?
I think both are fine. You can remind your son, but also don’t coddle and nag him about it.
If I know one thing about boys, especially, is that they have a hard time remembering stuff. In fact, it’s biologically true that as their brains grow, especially in the time of puberty, they have a hard time retaining information.
So it’s perfectly okay for you as the parent to help them remember.
But it’s not okay for them to be lazy.
So remind them, but let them go the distance. If he fails because he didn’t follow through, then he fails. He will hopefully learn his lesson for next time.
Parenting is many times about balancing correction with encouragement. If you swing more towards one thing, they can start taking advantage of you OR feel overwhelmed by the expectation of perfection.
6. Not encourage them to take responsibility if they hurt someone
With making mistakes in life and failing, there is also another element of adulting that has to do with taking responsibility for your actions.
That means, if you wronged someone or did something wrong, it’s important to learn how to go the extra mile and own up to it.
It’s a popular idea that you shouldn’t have your children apologize for who they are. Well, there’s a difference. Apologizing for something you did wrong is not apologizing for who you are unless who you are is wrong. Do you see the difference?
If we teach our children that they are not their mistakes, then one should have nothing to do with the other.
Apologizing for your wrongs, in essence, is humility. When we can teach our children the beauty of humility, many other incredible characteristics will follow suit.
In our current society, it’s unpopular to practice humility or put others first. Why has selflessness become a negative thing?
It’s because people mistake selflessness for being burdened and selfishness for self-care.
Taking care of yourself SHOULD come first. But since when has taking care of yourself meant negating other people’s feelings? It shouldn’t.
Take care of yourself AND be selfless.
Practice humility AND set boundaries.
In a world that is breeding self-centered, narcissistic people, we have the chance to show our children that joy can be found in caring for others while also caring for ourselves.
7. Let them get away with everything
I don’t think I really need to go in-depth on this one as it explains itself quite nicely.
8. NOT make them work for their money or have chores
Don’t take my word for it because I can’t find the exact article I read this out of, but kids who are given chores during their adolescence end up following through on tasks WAY better than kids who don’t.
Have your kids do chores, because it will help them later on when they are employed and have to adult.
BUT I’m also fond of letting kids be kids when they’re kids. Again here, find balance.
Don’t place too much expectation on your child if they have a lot on their plate with homework and school. Perhaps work them harder in the summer. You be the judge. Just don’t let them stuff their faces with Cheetos and play video games all the time.
In essence, raising mentally strong kids has a lot to do with understanding your child’s needs. Listen to them, guide them, love them, accept them for who they are. Go the distance with them through thick and thin.
Be the non-judgemental space they go to when things get rough.
I know it can feel as though parenting is this massive void that can’t ever be filled. But give it time. Parenting is not a formula or recipe that comes out perfect each time. It’s a waiting game, and sometimes the things you put effort into take years to come to fruition.
Positive parenting tools for every parent
Screen Time Protection and Teaching Moderation
I’ve recently partnered with Bark, a software to supervise, manage, and protect your child’s device use on the go. Use the code WORDBIRD at checkout to get an additional 1-month free trial after your first initial 7-day trial!
Screen Time Checklist Printable for Kids – FREE if you sign up for our weekly newsletter. Just fill out your info below.
Book List for Kids and Parents
Book list to teach kids about racial diversity.
Journaling for Kids
When a child is old enough to start drawing, coloring, or writing, journaling is an incredible way to help your kids better express themselves in a free and comfortable way. Check out our Kid’s Printable Journals — created specifically to help children better express their feelings, encourage gratitude, and spark the imagination.
Chores for Kids
Magnetized Chalk Chart for Fridge
Implementing chores and structure in your child’s daily life is a VERY helpful tool to teach them follow through, discipline, and respect. We use this chore chart in our family to help our kids keep track of their own progress, and keep you from having to constantly remind them of their daily tasks.
If you’re looking for something a bit more simple, this is also a good option.
Chore Chart Printable – Get it NOW from the convenience of your own printer
If you’re looking for something you can print out immediately and start implementing chores in your home today, check out this CHORE CHART PRINTABLE. With a Mandalorian theme, it makes for a lighthearted and fun way to encourage kids to do their daily and weekly “missions.”
Emotional Connectivity with Your Kids
Connecting on a deeper level emotionally with your child is CRUCIAL, and sometimes more difficult. We play THIS GAME often in our family to create a safe space for our kids to feel free to share their questions and emotions, all without judgment.
We even offer an “Exemption Time” for the duration of this game, where anything he tells us is off the table for consequences.
Check out these other posts on emotional connectivity on the blog!
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