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12 Effective Tips for Raising Mindful and Mentally Strong Kids


Teddy bear on a bench behind trees
Teddy Bear on a Bench

Raising mindful and mentally strong kids is a time-consuming and indeed essential task you'll have to perform as a parent. It is not only inevitable for your kid but also demanding for you.

Oprah Winfrey once said,

"You become what you believe, not what you think or what you want."

As a parent, you have the responsibility to care for and nurture your kids. Although often overlooked, this includes helping them grow mentally as well. The experiences children go through at a young age are pivotal in developing their understanding, mindset, and view of the world, as well as the obstacles and challenges it brings.


Although most of the negative experiences children face are inevitable, discussing and reflecting with them can help them feel better and move on from those painful experiences.


Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to raising mindful and mentally strong kids.



Listen Carefully to your Child


When children are young, parents often love talking to them, hearing them babble incoherent words, and watching them discover new things. When they get older, parents often start to forget that they still need to be heard.


Even if you have a busy schedule, keep your ears open. This means putting your phone aside and being attentive too. Kids will mimic what you do. If you get annoyed when they don't pay attention to you properly, you may just be doing the same.


If a child feels like people care about what they have to say, they will be more confident and open to sharing their opinion. Whether it's something that's bothering them or just a story they find funny, it'll mean the world to them if you listen to them and reciprocate. Answer their "whys" and make them at peace.



Be Involved with Your Child


As a parent, you should be aware of the things your child does, but more importantly what they are going through. The best way to do this without pushing them away is to get involved. Spend time with them and learn about their interests so you understand them better. If you have that kind of relationship, trust comes easily.


If you notice they are more irritated than usual and you can’t figure out why? You might assume you have made a mistake. This isn’t always the case. There are a lot of things that could be bothering them.


However, if they are specifically giving you the cold shoulder, you might have hurt them. Most of the time kids won’t share their feelings and instead, they want you to approach them first and notice what's wrong.


Try talking to them and explaining to them that you both need to share what you feel to understand each other better.


people laughing and playing with a kid
Family Time

Say Sorry When You're Wrong


Never think that problems will go away by themselves. Even if it’s a small argument, apologizing is very important. Kids need to see you as a human as well.


It’s hard admitting mistakes, especially as a parent. But if you don’t apologize or clear misunderstandings, and instead pretend as if nothing has happened, your kid will begin to harbour ill feelings towards you. This is a natural and expected reaction to being mistreated.


Those problems will pile up and come up in every argument. If you want your child to treat others better, you also have to do the same.


Watch Your Words in front of your Child


Watching your words doesn’t just mean you don’t swear in front of your kids. As a parent, it's your responsibility to correct your children and teach them what you perceive to be right and wrong. While trying to do this, parents sometimes end up being the main source of toxicity towards their kids.


There's a line between pointing out wrong and calling out things you dislike in your children. This can be about school life, things they like, their dreams, their efforts, their personality and identity, and even policing how much they eat.


Your words will actively affect how your children think of themselves. As people, we become conditioned to think and believe what other people say to us, often unknowingly.


For instance, If a teacher tells their student that they won't pass, they will start to believe it and not put in any effort. Therefore, be careful. Before you say something, ask yourself what kind of impact those words can have. Are they really necessary?



Give Healthy Love to Your Child


Every parent has their values and methods of parenting. No method is inherently good or bad, as it depends on every individual family. However, there are some things you should avoid when raising your child.


In some families, parents are overprotective of their children. This can be suffocating and most kids consider this as clipping their wings. The best way to avoid this is to not make your kids the centre of your life. Try adopting healthy practices.


It’s fine if they are ‘your whole world,’ in a loving way, but don’t encourage yourself and others to give up everything for a child's sake.


Empty Nest Syndrome is common among many parents. It is described by MCNN,


“As a feeling of grief and loneliness, parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.”

A lot of your time will be spent taking care of your children, but you need to create a balance between loving your child and living your own life. This will make it easier for you to let go when your child moves on, and you won’t be desperate to hold them down or close to you.


Both parents and children need healthy breaks and distance. If you don’t hold onto them too tight, they will come back to you.


Mother And Daughter Sitting By A Pond
Mother And Daughter Sitting By A Pond

Avoid Creating A Toxic Relationship


On the other hand, some parents force children out of comfort. ‘The outside world’ is a common phrase parents use when explaining hardships to their children. Out of love, some force their children into hard and uncomfortable situations to make them stronger.


With this mindset, many think that their children shouldn't receive upfront love because they won't receive it from others. This is also an extreme form of love and can be toxic. Worrying for your children is understandable, but your children also need to know what love feels like, to find it elsewhere and give it to others as well.


Your children need a safe place to come back to when elsewhere becomes painful for them. Don't assume that your children will know you love them if you don't openly express it. This can be hard at times.


Some parents have trouble expressing love in words or actions. Finding a way to express your love that you feel comfortable with can also help you open up to your child. Even if it’s hard, your child needs to hear that from you, just like you need to hear it from them.



Praise for Self-Esteem and Confidence


Focus on your and your child's mental health. In families, acknowledging emotions and feelings is often overlooked or even made into a taboo topic. Praise your child's good behaviour and help them with their goals. The more confident they feel, the higher self-esteem they will have.


Be with them when they are trying new things and show them the ropes. Talk with them about what they are feeling and what that could mean. Accepting and not avoiding their own emotions and feelings will make them more mindful of others.



Don't Hold On To Mistakes of Your Child


Regardless of age, we've all done embarrassing things that have kept us up at night. The bigger the mistake, the more guilty we feel, but it’s also the way we bring greater change.


Your children will also make mistakes. Loads of them. Help them move past it, and encourage them to do better and make amends.


If you keep reminding them of things they did, even just by the slip of a tongue, it will discourage them. Nobody likes being reminded of the low points in their life.



Share Your Experiences


Parents commonly use the ‘generation gap’ as an excuse for the lack of understanding between their kids and them. Although you may prefer 'the good old days’, remember that your children don't have control over these changes either. It’s just as new to them as it is to you.


Educating yourself and understanding the world your children are growing up in will help you to understand them better and parent them according to your beliefs.


Instead of complaining to them about how different life is, share your experiences. Not all change is good, and by seeing the differences, your children can reflect on what has improved and what needs to be fixed. Use this as an opportunity to get closer to your kids.



Each Child Is Different


An unwritten rule of parenting is to never compare your children to other kids, especially their siblings. You might think that you are encouraging them to take others' good qualities, but comparing peers will make them feel like they aren't good enough.


Instead of taking after them, your child will begin to hate them or those good behaviours. Even if they act like it doesn't, parents' words impact children greatly and it can be hurtful to them. Instead, try to teach them good habits by being a role model yourself or finding someone your child looks up to.


Influence your child with good people, without comparing them.

Address your children separately from each other. They all have unique qualities, strengths, and faults. One parenting method may work with one child and not with the other, and that's fine. Don't generalize their feelings and thoughts as one, it will only damage your child.



It's The Little Things


It all boils down to the little things. Creating an environment in which your kids feel happy and loved will make it easier for them to face hardships elsewhere. It's common for parents and kids to overlook small arguments and not apologize or clear misunderstandings.

The little things pile up over time and will leave both you and our children upset. You and your child are both growing and passing milestones in your respective lives. Understanding this can help you to support and care for each other better.


book quote
The Five People You Meet In Heaven

Reflection


You and your children will hurt each other. It's unavoidable.

However, healing and moving past problems isn't as hard as it seems. As a parent, you should be the first to take a step back and study the relationship you have with your children.


Ask yourself:

  • Does my child talk to me comfortably?

  • Do they want to approach me when they have a problem?

  • Do they get frustrated when I ask something of them?

  • Am I making them feel better or worse?

  • Am I unjustly expecting too much from them?


It's natural for parents to want great things for their children, but they often get lost in wanting their child to live their lives, and start to live their own lives through them.


Understanding this can help you strengthen the relationship between you and your child, further helping them grow up to be better individuals.


infographic: ways-of-raising-mindful-and-mentally-strong-kids
Infographic: Ways of Raising Mindful And Mentally Strong Kids


Takeaway


Raising mindful and mentally strong kids has never been an easy task but it shouldn't stop you from moving toward your goal gradually. Parenting comes with a lot of extreme challenges and this is one of the most important challenges a parent has to tackle. It becomes easier and more impactful when you know how to do things to make your children develop mentally strong.


If you're a parent reading this, comment below to let us know what strategy you think is the most effective.

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