Updated: Apr 10
Dr. Ubaid Khan Afridi Contributor
Many parents come to psychotherapists with just one question in mind, “How can we train our children to have a strong, and more resilient personality?”
This query answered by psychotherapists (Morin, 2021) deals with letting them be their best future selves possible. The only way for them to be that version is if they are mentally strong. It is their attitude towards all their daily obstacles that will set them apart.
What is required to strengthen and succeed past obstacles are just three simple things; shaping the way one thinks, feels, and acts in such situations. In all these attributes it’s important to not just think outside the box, but to feel good, as well as act bravely in tough situations. This is a simple technique to build mental muscles. Needless to say, strength in any area cannot be established overnight, instead, it takes a lot of patience, constant reinforcement, and practice to accomplish success.
From a blend of experiences with psychotherapists, there are a few common characteristics that have been linked to all children with a strong personality. Seven tips for keeping children out of troubled and into successful thinking are:
1. They know how to uplift themselves
It is important to understand the small things that your children hint at. Their emotions being matched with other people’s happiness is a big sign. If someone else’s win places them in a dark place, this is when you know your child may be insecure about themselves.
On the contrary, kids who know how to uplift themselves on their own, feel good when others feel good or bad. They decide to show their positive side even when they are being placed in a rough situation or if someone is letting their stress out for no reason.
One-liners to help your children empower themselves: It is very important to make your kids repeat catchphrases that uplifts them. These sentences are usually simple but hold a lot of force to change the way kids perceive their attitudes. Repeating positive affirmations helps them change the way their thought process works and how they act out those thoughts.
Some of these one-liners are mentioned below that are very easy to remember:
“I am doing my best and that’s what matters most.”
“I am confident.”
“I am the best version of myself.”
“Nothing will put me down today.”
2. They know how to adjust according to their surroundings
Many times, in a child’s life, they are subjected to sudden changes in their environment, which makes it very hard for them to adapt to that change. Sometimes, they resist. They find it hard to cope with unwanted change mentally, which significantly impacts their life, failing to thrive.
However, children who are mentally strong are mature enough to understand the reason for the change and adjust themselves according to that change. This change can vary considerably, from changing schools to being enclosed at home during the pandemic.
As parents, it is important to talk to your children about their emotions and discuss them. It will give them a lot of closure once they are able to define what they are feeling, such as sad, disappointed, mad, nervous, eager, or happy.
3. They know when to speak up for themselves
Even as adults, we often fail to own up to ourselves and say no. It is very important to deny favors for your own sake and peace. Having control of your life and deciding what to do and when to do it, makes a person stronger.
As for children, this becomes difficult ten-fold because at an early age, they are taught to obey. However, it is important to also teach them to not do something that makes them uncomfortable or that they just don’t feel like doing. Sometimes, what they don’t do, like getting in the car with a stranger, is more crucial than what they do.
Therefore, it is important to help them learn this through the 'give up' test technique. You can present them with options to choose from and really ask them to choose between the two. If there’s no good options but only two bad options, then should they choose?
If they are faced with a situation where they have to attend a playdate with their friend, you can ask them if they'd like to use that time for the playdate or spend it with their siblings. Whatever, their response is, try to come up with situations where you assure them it is okay to say no to any given situation as per their likes or needs.
It is very important that parents help them learn polite ways to say no to someone. Things like,
“Sorry, I won't be able to.” (There shouldn’t necessarily be a reason to deny something)
“I don't want to do this right now, however, I do appreciate your thought.”
4. They realize their mistakes and own up to them
It comes as no surprise that kids try to hide their mistakes in order to escape any kind of trouble. However, it is an extremely important step in their character building to urge them to tell the truth. Raising awareness to these accidental obstacles to the compassionate people elicits help.
Children who are truthful and come clean when and if they do something wrong, become mentally strong to accept their flaws later in life too. Children should feel at ease and see that telling the truth is always easier and better than building lies surrounding their mistakes.
The practice of such actions helps enforce rightfulness, with them making fewer and fewer mistakes in the future.
Create a positive environment to celebrate your children’s success: It is important to see where your child is lacking, for instance, if they have difficulty organizing, then they probably have a hard time memorizing anything from his/her projects and assignments.
Therefore, it is important to help them organize by giving them a hand to parlay any win and write all things down whenever they complete a successful assignment or task. This will greatly improve their performance, feeling of self-worth, and also help them learn constructively through any mistakes.
5. Encourage them to celebrate the success of other people even if they fail
Most children become extremely low after losing any competition and get jealous of the winner. As normal as this may seem, it is important to make them know that winning and losing is all part of the game.
It is always important to enjoy the process of the game, rather than focusing on the win. If you can instill this thought in your child's mind, they will enjoy it more and also feel happy with the other people who end up winning.
Kids who have a strong personality are very supportive of their peers and hence are more focused on giving their best. This helps them enjoy the process, without worrying about someone else winning or losing.
Make sure to tell them to be the person they admire: It is very beneficial to help your child list a number of attributes that they admire. Does a smile seem normal? A friendly attitude? A helpful spirit? This list can help them incorporate those attributes into their own personalities.
6. Knowing it is always okay to fail or bow-out, means they can try again
To kids or adults, failing or feeling like you let someone down always does hurt. Most people feel disappointed at themselves to the point that they fail to focus on any bright side of their personality.
Therefore, for children, it becomes even more depressing if they fail or aren’t included. However, it should always be taught to them that they we all have to learn from our mistakes, practice improvements, and sometimes participate or even win the next time. This helps their mindset to know, grow, glow, and do well in every step of their life.
They know it is okay to fail, as they can have multiple tries to perfect themselves and come out of it stronger. Kids with a strong mind are always the ones who pick themselves up from their own failures. Or, congratulate themselves on bowing-out from bad situations.
7. Perseverance and hard work are keys to a healthy mindset.
Mentally strong children make sure to keep trying. They often perfect themselves in a task that seems impossible. It is very important to keep going strong, despite challenges for the brain to develop. “There are no achievements without obstacles.”
Therefore, no matter how long it takes to finish a puzzle or a hard math problem, always encourage your kid to keep trying. Not giving up can help the kid realize that they can depend on themselves and that they can take charge of any situation and excel in it.
Morin, A. (2021, March 17). A psychotherapist says the most mentally strong kids always do these 7 THINGS-AND how parents can teach them. Retrieved March 26, 2021, from https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/17/psychotherapist-parenting-tips-what-the-most-mentally-strong-kids-always-do.html