As much as we all would love for it to be, life is just not always full of sunshine and rainbows. Challenges and obstacles can create difficult times and challenging days for anyone. This is precisely why it’s so important to raise mentally strong kids… so they develop the capacity to maintain a state of happiness, health, and overall wellbeing.
Now, when I say “mental strength” I don’t mean ignoring difficult emotions, acting rebellious, or putting on a coat of mental armour to appear tough to the outside world. Instead, when I say “mental strength” I mean building resilience, developing emotional intelligence, trusting your choices and decisions, and standing firm in your values and morals. These will really prepare your child for life.
The Importance of Mental Strength
Mental strength is a critical element to pushing through obstacles, dealing with difficult emotions, and finding success after a difficult period in one’s life. Mental strength is so essential to these because it helps one to:
1. Develop Emotional Intelligence
Mental strength has been viewed as keeping your struggles to yourself and working to appear strong to the outside world. However, this is not what mental strength is at all. Mental strength encourages one to experience their emotions and helps them handle each one positively and productively.
2. Promote Optimism and Realistic Thinking
When one lacks mental strength and toughness, they may find themselves catastrophizing every little thing that goes wrong in life. This negative way of thinking can turn any obstacle or challenge into a whirlwind of dark thoughts, negative behaviours, and awful consequences. Mental toughness helps one view the situation at hand with more clarity.
Rather than sinking into a pit of despair over a slight mistake or failure, a mentally strong person will be able to view the situation optimistically and realistically. This will help them find their way around the obstacles and challenges, learn from them, and continue to move forward on their path to success.
3. Encourage Them to Push Through
It can be easy to give up when you have failed or made a mistake. I mean, who wants to take another blow to their ego, right? However, giving up after one failure or error can prevent one from achieving some amazing things in life.
Think about how many successful entrepreneurs likely faced rejection after rejection before finding the right investors for their company. Or how many famous authors faced rejection after rejection before finding a publisher to believe in the stories you love so much.
There are so many success stories in the world, and just about every one of these success stories holds at least one failure or mistake. Mentally tough people will push through these failures, giving them a greater opportunity to find success.
4. Finding Confidence in Themselves
Mentally tough people are confident in the person they are. They stand strong in their values and morals. They understand their talents and the areas in which they fall short. They know how to use these talents to their advantage and can figure out ways around the areas in which they fall short.
Most of all, mentally strong people place a great amount of worth in themselves and know that they are capable of anything. This confidence allows them to get through anything life throws at them and allows them to come out on top.
So, How Can You Raise Mentally Strong Kids?
Mental strength plays a huge role in finding success, which every parent dreams their child will be able to find one day. Now that we have developed a greater sense of the importance of mental strength, we must develop a deeper understanding of how to instil mental toughness in one’s kids.
1. Set an Example
Confucius’s beliefs place value in setting an example as a leader in your children’s lives. Work on developing your own mental strength. Do the work to build emotional intelligence, face your own fears, and push past failures and mistakes.
You can have discussions with your child about goals you would like to achieve, what you are doing to pursue them, the obstacles you have faced in reaching them, and how you got past them.
2. Teach Them to Face Their Fears and Get Out of Their Comfort Zone
They say that life is best lived outside one’s comfort zone, so push your child to face their fears and step outside the little box of comfort they have created for themselves. If your child constantly avoids the things that make them feel afraid, uncomfortable, or nervous, they will never build the skills needed to get them through the moments when life is not going their way.
A great way to help your child learn to face their fears and get out of their comfort zone is by teaching them a few simple affirmations that encourage bravery, such as:
- “I am strong.”
- “I am brave.”
- “I can do anything I set my mind to.”
- “I believe in myself.”
3. Talk Them Through Their Emotions
Everybody has emotions. Everybody gets stressed, angry, happy, or sad. Understanding your emotions, how they affect your thinking process, and what is causing you to feel this way plays a huge part in mental toughness.
Before learning coping mechanisms and ways to get past dark thoughts and emotions, one must first understand their triggers and the thought processes holding them back. When your child has shown signs of frustration, stress, or sadness, they may benefit from a conversation about their emotions once they have calmed down.
For example, if your child is feeling frustrated because of a complicated puzzle or toy, you can lead the conversation with statements and questions like:
- “You seemed to be feeling frustrated.”
- “Were you feeling frustrated because the puzzle was difficult?”
- “It’s okay to feel frustrated. Next time, you may want to try taking some deep breaths and considering a new approach to your puzzle.”
4. Encourage the Development of Morals and Values From an Early Age
Traditional Chinese parents instil their values and morals in their children from a very young age. A great way they do this is through the art of storytelling. Young children tend to need a bit more direction in their learning, and the earlier you begin to teach your child about values and morals, the deeper understanding and confidence they can have in their own values and morals.
Mental strength is critical to living a happy, successful life. Working to raise a strong child will allow your little one to grow into an adult who can get through anything.