10 Ways to raise a mentally Strong Child

emotionally strong kids- Parenting resources by ZenParent

Teaching your child to play a game, do math or the guitar is easier than teaching your child to be mentally strong. In the real world, it is mental grit and strength that sets people apart. This is not a one shot skill that is taught like riding a bike. It is a lifelong process which you keep reinforcing at important moments in your child’s life.

1. Let them make mistakes: Gandhi said “Freedom is meaningless if it does not include the right to make mistakes” – let your child make mistakes. They learn more from those than being right all the time. Today school projects become parent’s projects to prove their excellence. Let your child do his 4th grade project. You already finished yours a long time ago.

2. Teach them how to fix things: Get your children to work with their hands and fix things. This teaches them to be independent. When they are really small, if they spill something, instead of mopping it up, give them the rag and teach them how to clean it up. If they break something, teach them how to glue it back together. If they rip something, teach them how to put it back together. As they grow older teach them every little odd job that you know how to do around the house and  have them do it. Involve them in your DIY projects at home.

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3. Stop mollycoddling them: Many of us rush in to protect our children. Be it from the bullies on the playground, a neighbour who scolded your child, kids who would not accept your child into their game, teachers who do not seem to be taking care of your child… we all get our hackles up whenever our child faces some discomfort. We need to let go and let our children deal with these situations. It is what toughens them up. Let us not rush in every time to rescue them from every challenge they face.

4. Internal  Locus of control: This is the toughest and the most important skill that you can teach your child. In today’s social media driven world, everything is about flaunting and getting approval and ‘likes’ from others. Teach your child that external approval is not the only thing that needs to drive them to achieve. Keep telling them to seek approval from within themselves. Their point of control should be within themselves and not driven by others liking or disliking them. Many things get ingrained in us, because our parents kept repeating it over and over again. It works.

5. Teach them to face their fears: Everyone develops fears in childhood and some of these fears continue into our adulthood. Teach your children not to run away from these fears and face them. Don’t mock them. But give them tools to face them and conquer them.

6. Teach Emotional control: Emotional control is a critical part of being a successful adult. Therefore it is important to teach your kids first to be aware of their emotions. Being aware will help them label the emotions further heightening their awareness. Then teach them how to express them well and have control over them.

7. Teach them to move on: Sometimes our children tend to dwell more on their failures and become pessimistic. It is important to teach children how to face their failures, accept the past and move on with renewed efforts. This is an emotional skill that cultivates perseverance which ultimately leads to success.

8. The Blame Game: Sometimes children can get into the bad habit of blaming someone else for their shortcomings. They try to blame it on external factors, people or situations. Teach your child to accept responsibility and stop blaming outside forces. This will enable them to work harder to rectify the problems in the future.

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9. Embrace Change: Another source of anxiety in children or even adults is the resistance to change. Unfortunately, change is the only constant in our lives and the sooner we learn to adapt to it, the happier we will be. Teach your children to “roll with the punches” – Model it for them so that they see how their parents take change in their stride and will emulate the same.

10. Positive Attitude: This is, as we all know the king of all emotional skills. If you are positive, you draw the best energies from the universe which will work in your favour to aid your endeavours. Having a bright positive attitude keeps your cheerful, focused on your work, optimistic in your thoughts, generous with your gifts and a joy to be around with. While nature does play a role, constantly talking and modeling a bright positive behaviour will impact your child’s attitude in life as well.

‘Monkey see. Monkey do”. At the risk of being politically incorrect, this is exactly what children do. They do as they see at home. Therefore it is important that you model all that you wish for your child. I am not good, but I want my child to be better than me, just won’t cut it. Yes, you want your child to be better than you but you have got to take the first steps towards making changes in yourself. Seeing you striving to be strong is also an incredible lesson for your child as they see you overcoming your personal obstacles.

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