This post was most recently updated on April 29th, 2019
How to Raise Mentally Strong Kids
We all start out trying to achieve the goal of bright, well adjusted kids, but we find ourselves overwhelmed when life happens. Here are 5 easy tools to master raising emotionally and mentally strong kids.
1. Talk about feelings. Name them.
When my son is having a tantrum and whining is turned up, I calmly try to name the feeling for him:
“Are you feeling frustrated?” (cue the Daniel Tiger)
Not only does this help diffuse the toddler freak-out session, but it arm him with power knowing that his feelings are valid.
Next, we talk about how we can deal with the feeling.
“You want to play with the car that your brother has. Do you think you could wait patiently 5 min for your turn?”
2. Teach positive self-talk. How to transform negative self-talk.
Be careful not to call yourself stupid when you’re trying to fix a broken curtain. Those little ears suck up our every word- nice or messy. Model positive self-talk and encourage it in your little ones.
If you find them calling themselves stupid, jump in and stop it- and cite a positive attribute-
“You really try hard at fixing things.”
This will help kids perform at their best.
3. Let them Make their own mistakes, then lead them to Problem-Solve.
You’re going to watch your kids make plenty of mistakes. Forgo that coat on a cold day. You’ve got to let them sow the natural consequences of their choices, and learn the lesson.
Next, if they ask you a question looking for your smart answer, resist the temptation. Turn the questioning back on them and guide them to coming up with their own solution.
4. Let them face their fears or feel uncomfortable.
They need to learn what to do in these situations.
5. Build Character.
My 4 year old’s favorite refrain has been, “I have the biggest…fastest…best” or “I won” the race,
and we always chime in- “It’s not a contest!”
We are trying to build his character. We don’t continue to play a game with him if he tries to cheat.
If we make a commitment to meet a friend, we keep it.
If someone drew on the walls with crayon, we want him to accept personal responsibility, but it also drives us back to Problem-Solving-
It doesn’t matter who did it, let’s figure out how we’re going to clean it up.