Teaching your child these 10 things could improve and nurture their emotional well-being

Figuring out how to raise an emotionally and mentally strong child is no easy task. As much as you want to nurture, support, and improve their mental well-being, it’s something parents will never be perfect at. That’s why I’ve come up with a helpful list to guide you through what it takes to be the example, and give your child what they need emotionally and mentally.

how to help your child emotionally and mentally thrive

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How can you nurture a healthy emotional bond with your child?

The other night, my husband and I had an incredible conversation with our 9yo old son, brought on by this game we play about once a week.

You draw a card and ask one another questions like, “Do you feel like you can tell me everything” or “What’s the hardest part about being a boy/girl?”

Every time we play, our conversations reach new depths that bring on discussions that wouldn’t normally or easily be brought up. Take, for example, the conversation we had with him last night. We have been having “the talk” conversation with him for a while now, as we believe it shouldn’t be just one conversation, and the result was both endearing and hilarious.

I won’t go into much detail to protect our son’s privacy, but it was a moment in parenting when I realized that these conversations pave the way for our child’s mental and emotional health with everything in life. When you can have conversations like this with your children, not only about “the talk,” but ones that address what they will face in their life, the more you will prepare them to emotionally and mentally succeed.

How to encourage your child to be emotionally strong

Parenting hinges on these conversations, no matter how uncomfortable or sometimes difficult, which is where you, as the parent, will be the most influential person in their life. When you use parenting to guide and not control your children, it will result in them trusting and favoring your opinion over that of their friends, or other possible negative influences in their life.

A strong family bond will create for your child an environment he feels safe in, and not judged. Where any question he or she has, is not a wrong question, but rather an ample opportunity to give wisdom, advice, and healthy guidance.

Stop thinking “control” and start thinking “acceptance”

Parenting is not about control.

In fact, when kids reach their preteen and teen years, you may find yourself needing to step back and wait for them to come to you. If you want to give advice, make sure you ask them if it’s okay.

This will help them realize that you aren’t trying to control them or a situation, but rather that you are there to listen, understand, and be whatever they need.

There is a plethora of trendy information out there about to do’s and don’t’s of parenting. But I try to steer clear of that and instead give you direction as you relate, identify, and walk alongside the most important people in your life—your children.

It’s not about trends or even causing one to feel inadequate as a mother or father because they don’t follow along. I want you to keep in mind that modeling these things is the BEST way to teach your children, even above giving advice.

Here are 10 things to teach your children to help them thrive mentally and emotionally.

Mentally and Emotionally Strong Kids Have Parents Who Teach Them These 10 Things

a boy on a beach

1. Teach them the importance of gratitude

Along with being grateful yourself for the things in your life, not complaining, and giving generously, you can also implement practices for your children like this gratitude journal for boys and girls. Easy to print right from home!

A great way for kids to write down and be grateful for what the DO have, and not dwell on what they DON’T.

2. Teach them how to apologize

Once again, the best way to teach your child how to do this is to apologize to them when you have wronged them.

Also, when they are young, walk them through an apology if they wronged someone they’re playing with. The younger they learn this quality, the better.

teach your child how to give

3. Teach them the importance of giving and being generous

We live in a society where greed has taken over, and a mindset that even at the expense of others, you should come first.

As I believe we should teach our children to love and take care of themselves, and have boundaries, we should also balance it with consideration of others.

In a world that’s infested with consumerism and greed, we can teach our children generosity and selflessness, by instilling in them the importance of giving others our time, friendship, money, and services.

4. Teach them that not everything will go their way

Discipline is one of the best ways to teach your child about the fact that life won’t always go the way they want. Read more about discipline vs. punishment here.

teaching children that failure is okay

5. Teach them that rejection and failure are apart of life

My son really struggles with losing games. He is super competitive (which is a great quality), but it often frustrates him when he loses, which results in anger, and no one wants to play games with him.

I explained to him that failing, losing, or being rejected will always be apart of life. It’s what he does with it that matters the most, and to be happy for others when they win, will help him overcome his frustration. If I’m honest here, this is one of my son’s biggest struggles, and we will probably have to work with him on it for a long time.

As you are teaching your children these things, it’s also important to remember that they won’t always do what you say when you say it. They are imperfect, so love and accept them anyway.

Continue to walk with them as they learn to do the right thing because, most often, you will have to repeat yourself, remind them, and allow them to fail.

Knowing you are there for them will often time be the thing they remember most.

boy standing in front of class

6. Teach them to love everyone (but that doesn’t always mean they have to like or be friends with everyone.)

Loving others means you treat everyone equally, showing kindness. But loving can also mean setting boundaries and speaking the truth in love.

And loving someone doesn’t mean they need to like or be friends with that person.

Check out – How to Prevent Your Child From Becoming a People Pleaser.

7. Teach them about kids who have physical or mental disabilities

When we went bowling the other day, we were sharing a booth with the most precious disabled kid and his family. He greeted us with two fist bumps each and told us he was there to celebrate his 21st birthday.

He asked us our names, and we asked him his. I believe that it’s important we talk to our kids about people with disabilities, so they understand that even though people are different than them, it doesn’t make them any less valuable or lovable than us.

My son immediately said, “I like him,” after giving him a fist bump and sharing his name. It was a moment I realized that all of our previous discussions about it had come to fruition, and my son had learned how to treat others with disabilities.

I can’t imagine how much it means to the parents of those with disabilities to have other kids interact in a loving way with their children.

teach children about equality

8. Teach them about equality of gender and race

Gender – The best way to teach your children equality of gender is how you interact as husband and wife. We believe that even though we are equal, we have different roles in our family.

As a couple, we share the load of responsibilities, but also recognize our strengths and weaknesses. While my husband isn’t good at cooking, I’m no good at changing the lights on the car. As a team, we model for our kids the importance of equality by recognizing and appreciating one another’s strengths and weaknesses.

Read more on healthy leadership in this post.

Want to teach your kids about equality? Show them with your actions and your words that whether you look to the right or left, the person standing there is just as valued and important as you are.

Hillary Gruener – Author of WFTB

Parents need to take responsibility to teach their kids about equality. Whether that’s with race, with gender, with disabilities–it’s on you, mom and dad, to give your child a healthy perspective of human decency.

And the best way to teach them that is through modeling it for yourselves.

Another few ways you do that is by having them read this list of children’s books about race and diversity.

At an appropriate age, you can have them watch certain shows and movies, like Roots, that will give them a better perspective of racial discrimination in our history.

As we lead our children to a better and more equal future in our world, it’s also important for them to understand the repercussions of when one thinks the are better than someone else. Not only has our history been evidence of that with slavery, but also with how women used to be treated.

As I stated above, this can best be modeled in the relationship as husband and wife.

9. Teach them that they are free to share EVERYTHING with you, without judgment

If your child opens up to you and is truthful about something that they might get in trouble for, then reward that, don’t punish them. The next time something happens, they will feel safe to share it with you and not try and hide it.

Another aspect of this has to do with what and who they are influenced by. Even though you want to have an open and honest relationship with them, you also have to remember that they are still children who need boundaries and protection.

One aspect that’s most often negatively influencing kids in this day and age, is technology. When parents don’t monitor what their kids are viewing or how much they are viewing it, it will affect them, and not in a good way. Check out this incredible software – Bark – download to your child’s device to keep them accountable, as well as set limits and boundaries so you don’t have to think twice about it. Use this special offer code WORDBIRD for a free 1-month trial.

Check out How to Stop Society From Ruining Your Relationship With Your Kids (A Guide to Preteen and Teen parenting)

woman reading book

10. Teach them how to love God by modeling it, not forcing it

The beauty of my faith has to do with believing that God loves us so much that He created us with free will. That means we aren’t puppets for Him to control, but rather children of God who can make choices for themselves.

If I were to force or coerce my son to believe in God just because I believe in Him, it would rob him of experiencing the very beauty of our faith. Choice. The best way to implement faith in your family is to model how it brings joy and meaning to your life.


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

Check out my recommended books for parenting

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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Author

Hillary Gruener is a wife, mother, writer, and musician. If she's not at her desk writing content on family life, she's adventuring the world with her husband and two boys.

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