We live in an increasingly overwhelming world, which is why it has never been more important to promote emotional and mental resiliency in our children. Not only are emotionally healthy children better prepared to solve potential challenges on their own, but studies have shown that they are much more likely to be interested in education and in their future careers.
It’s not going to be easy for parents, but avoiding these that mistakes will help.
Minimizing your kid’s feelings
Kids need to understand that it’s healthy to express and talk about their emotions. When parents tell their children things like “don’t be so sad about it” or “it’s not a big deal,” they send a message that emotions don’t matter and that it’s better to suppress them.
When your kid displays signs of anxiety during a loud storm, for example, try saying, “I know you ‘re scared right now.” Then ask them what they think would make them feel better. This teaches them how to handle and cope with feelings on their own. The goal is to help them practice brainstorming strategies before they figure out what works.
Always saving them from failure
As parents, it’s hard to watch our children struggle over obstacles that we know we can easily solve. But think about it this way: if your child is doing badly in school, you realize that telling them the answers to the homework is only going to backfire in the classroom because you can’t be with them in the classroom when they have to complete the tests on their own.
Failure is a major part of progress. If children are never given an opportunity to learn lessons that come with failure, they will never build the perseverance they need to get back up after a setback.
Overindulging your kids
Children love stuff, and their parents love to give it to them. But studies suggest that when you give your children whatever they want, they miss out on mental strength abilities, such as self-discipline. You want your children to grow up knowing that they can achieve what they want— if they’re working for it.
Parents should encourage their children to learn self-control by setting simple rules for items like completing homework before watching the TV or doing chores to raise their allowance (so they can buy stuff on their own because they feel they’ve earned it).
It’s normal to want your child to reach for big goals and be the best at everything. But this isn’t how things work. Raising the standard too high can lead to self-esteem and confidence problems later in life. Build mental strength in your children by making sure your standards are reasonable.
So even though your children don’t achieve them, the challenges they face will always teach them important life lessons and how to succeed the next time around.
Making sure they always feel comfortable
There are several things that could make your child feel nervous, particularly when it comes to doing something different: trying new food, making new friends, playing a new sport or leaving home, and having to go to a new school.
But just like failure, accepting difficult moments can boost your mental strength. Motivate your children to try new things. Help them get started because that’s the toughest part of it. But once they take that first step, they might understand that it’s not as difficult as they thought it would be— and that they might even be good at it!
Not setting parent-child boundaries
You want your children to make their own decisions, but they do need to know that you’re the boss. For instance, if you have a curfew for your 12-year-old, make sure they stick to it every night (or as much as you can).
Children who are mentally strong have parents who recognize the value of boundaries and consistency. Caving and allowing rules to be negotiated too much can lead to power conflicts between you and your kids.
Not taking care of yourself
The older we get, the easier it is to sustain good habits (e.g. eating well, exercising regularly, taking time to restore). That’s why it’s important to model self-care behaviors for your children.
It’s also crucial to practice positive coping skills in front of your children. For example, if you’re anxious about work, consider telling your child, “I’ve had a very tiring day at work, and I’m going to relax with tea and a book.”