Developing mental strength is an important skill all kids needs to learn in order to thrive in adulthood. Unfortunately, building mental strength is a skill that can only be learned by living life. As you spend time with your child, talk about strategies to become mentally stronger and make a conscious effort to turn mistakes and problems into teachable moments.
You may be thinking, "How do I teach my kids how to be mentally strong?" The following tips are a great start.
Most parents talk to kids about the importance of taking care of their bodies. But few parents talk about the importance of caring for their minds.
Studies show 60 percent of college students say they were prepared academically but not emotionally for college. The vast majority of these young adults say they wished their parents had invested more time in teaching them how to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
Incorporate feeling words into your conversations. Help your children identify how they're feeling. Talk about how those emotions can affect their decisions and teach them to manage their emotions in a healthy way.
When your child expresses self-doubt, excessive self-blame, catastrophic predictions, or exaggeratedly negative thoughts, teach him how to think differently. Show him how to recognize unhelpful thoughts and reframe them in a more realistic way.
Kids need to know that they can behave contrary to their feelings. In fact, their behavior can change their feelings. If your child has had a bad day at school, she can choose to do something when she gets home that will help her feel better.
It can be tempting to swoop in and solve kids' problems for them. But they need opportunities to practice building problem-solving skills. Resist the urge to bail your child out when he encounters a problem. Instead, encourage him to develop his own solution. Let him make mistakes sometimes. Natural consequences can be some of life's greatest teachers.