1. Teach Specific Skills
Discipline should be about teaching your kids to do better next time, not making them suffer for their mistakes. Use consequences that teach specific skills, such as problem-solving skills, impulse control, and self-discipline. These skills will help your child learn to behave productively, even when he’s faced with temptation, tough circumstances, and difficult setbacks.
2. Let Your Child Make Mistakes
Teach your child that mistakes are part of the learning process so he doesn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about getting something wrong. Allow for natural consequences when it’s safe to do so and talk about how to avoid repeating the same mistake next time.
3. Teach Your Child How to Develop Healthy Self-Talk
It’s hard for kids to feel mentally strong when they’re bombarding themselves with put-downs or when they’re predicting catastrophic outcomes. Teach your child to reframe negative thoughts so she can think more realistically. Developing a realistic yet optimistic outlook can help kids get through time times and perform at their peak.
4. Encourage Your Child to Face Fears Head-On
If your child avoids anything scary, she’ll never gain the confidence she needs to handle feeling uncomfortable. Whether your child is afraid of the dark, or she is terrified to meet new people, help your child face her fears one small step at a time. Cheer her on, praise her efforts, and reward her for being brave and she’ll learn that she’s a capable kid who can handle stepping outside her comfort zone.
5. Allow Your Child to Feel Uncomfortable
Although it can be tempting to help a child whenever she’s struggling, rescuing her from distress will reinforce to her that she’s helpless. Let your child lose, allow her to feel bored, and insist she is responsible even when she doesn’t want to. With support and guidance, struggles can help your child build mental strength.
6. Build Character
Kids need a strong moral compass to help them make healthy decisions. Work hard to instill your values in your child. Create opportunities for life lessons that reinforce your values regularly.
7. Make Gratitude a Priority
Gratitude is a wonderful remedy for self-pity and other bad habits that can prevent your child from being mentally strong. Help your child affirm all the good in the world, so that even on his worst days, he’ll see that he has much to feel thankful for. Gratitude can boost your child’s mood and encourage proactive problem-solving.
8. Affirm Personal Responsibility
Building mental strength involves accepting personal responsibility. Allow for explanations—but not excuses when your child makes a mistake or misbehaves. Correct your child if he tries to blame others for how he thinks, feels, or behave.
9. Teach Emotion Regulation Skills
Don’t calm your child down when she’s angry or cheer her up every time she’s sad. Instead, teach her how to deal with uncomfortable emotions on her own, so she doesn’t grow to depend on you to regulate her mood. Kids who understand their feelings and know how to deal with them are better prepared to deal with challenges.
10. Role Model Mental Strength
Showing your child how to be mentally strong is the best way to encourage him to develop mental strength. Talk about your personal goals and show your child that you’re taking steps to grow stronger. Make self-improvement and mental strength a priority in your own life and avoid the things mentally strong parents don’t do.
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