Raising Mentally Strong Kids!

Forbes Contributor – Sep 18, 2017 Amy Morin
Psychotherapist and international bestselling mental strength author

Raising mentally strong kids who are equipped to take on real-world challenges requires parents to give up the unhealthy — yet popular — parenting practices that are robbing kids of mental strength.

Of course, helping kids build mental muscle isn’t easy — it requires parents to be mentally strong as well. Watching kids struggle, pushing them to face their fears, and holding them accountable for their mistakes is tough. But those are the types of experiences kids need to reach their greatest potential.

Parents who train their children’s brains for a life of meaning, happiness, and success, avoid these 13 things:

1. They Don’t Condone A Victim Mentality

Getting cut from the soccer team or failing a class doesn’t make your child a victim. Rejection, failure, and unfairness are part of life. Rather than allow kids to host pity parties or exaggerate their misfortune, mentally strong parents encourage their children to turn their struggles into strength. They help them identify ways in which they can take positive action, despite their circumstances.

2. They Don’t Parent Out Of Guilt

Guilty feelings can lead to a long list of unhealthy parenting strategies — like giving in to your child after you’ve said no or overindulging your child on the holidays. Mentally strong parents know that although guilt is uncomfortable, it’s tolerable. They refuse to let their guilty feelings get in the way of making wise choices.

3. They Don’t Make Their Child The Center Of The Universe

It can be tempting to make your life revolve around your child. But kids who think they’re the center of the universe grow up to be self-absorbed and entitled. Mentally strong parents teach their kids to focus on what they have to offer the world — rather than what they’re owed.

4. They Don’t Allow Fear To Dictate Their Choices

Keeping your child inside a protective bubble could spare you a lot of anxiety. But keeping kids too safe stunts their development. Mentally strong parents view themselves as guides, not protectors. They allow their kids to go out into the world and experience life, even when it’s scary to let go.

5. They Don’t Give Their Child Power Over Them

Kids who dictate what the family is going to eat for dinner, or those who orchestrate how to spend their weekends, have too much power.  Becoming more like an equal — or even the boss — isn’t healthy for kids. Mentally strong parents empower kids to make appropriate choices while maintaining a clear hierarchy.

6. They Don’t Expect Perfection

High expectations are healthy, but expecting too much from kids will backfire. Mentally strong parents recognize that their kids are not going to excel at everything they do. Rather than push their kids to be better than everyone else, they focus on helping them become the best versions of themselves.

7. They Don’t Let Their Child Avoid Responsibility

You won’t catch a mentally strong parent saying things like, “I don’t want to burden my kids with chores. Kids should just be kids.” They expect children to pitch in and learn the skills they need to become responsible citizens. They proactively teach their kids to take responsibility for their choices and they assign them age-appropriate duties.

8. They Don’t Shield Their Child From Pain

It’s tough to watch kids struggle with hurt feelings or anxiety. But, kids need practice and first-hand experience tolerating discomfort. Mentally strong parents provide their kids with the support and help they need coping with pain so their kids can gain confidence in their ability to deal with whatever hardships life throws their way.

9. They Don’t Feel Responsible For Their Child’s Emotions

It can be tempting to cheer your kids up when they’re sad or calm them down when they’re angry. But, regulating your kids’ emotions for them prevents them from gaining social and emotional skills. Mentally strong parents teach their children how to be responsible for their own emotions so they don’t depend on others to do it for them.

10. They Don’t Prevent Their Child From Making Mistakes

Whether your child gets a few questions wrong on his math homework or he forgets to pack his cleats for soccer practice, mistakes can be life’s greatest teacher. Mentally strong parents let their kids mess up — and they allow them to face the natural consequences of their actions.

11. They Don’t Confuse Discipline With Punishment

Punishment is about making kids suffer for their wrongdoing. Discipline is about teaching them how to do better in the future. And while mentally strong parents do give out consequences, their ultimate goal is to teach kids to develop the self-discipline they’ll need to make better choices down the road.

12. They Don’t Take Shortcuts To Avoid Discomfort

Giving in when a child whines or doing your kids’ chores for them, is fast and easy. But, those shortcuts teach kids unhealthy habits. It takes mental strength to tolerate discomfort and avoid those tempting shortcuts.

13. They Don’t Lose Sight Of Their Values

In today’s fast-paced world it’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day business of homework, chores, and sports practices. Those hectic schedules — combined with the pressure to look like parent of the year on social media —cause many people to lose sight of what’s really important in life. Mentally strong parents know their values and they ensure their family lives according to them.

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Are all martial arts schools created equal?

Unfortunately, that answer is No. They are not a commodity. It’s just like not all private schools are the same, even though they fall under the label of “private” schools.  Some are better than others because of many different factors.

The point is this: the quality of your experience; the feeling you get from training; and, how confident you are that the school can help you reach your goals are the determining factors.

Martial Arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a number of reasons: as self-defense, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation’s intangible cultural heritage.

Studies confirm that teaching experience increases teacher effectiveness.  Experienced teachers have a positive impact on a student’s performance. As teachers gain experience, their students are more likely to do better in other aspects of success beyond the martial arts classroom.

Making the right martial arts school selection is an important decision. All martial arts styles support the development of the following:

  • Personal character. Self-confidence and self-esteem. Focus and concentration. Self-discipline and mental toughness. Physical fitness and Self-defense. However, different martial arts schools who emphasize mostly on martial arts traditions often miss the mark.
  • The practice of martial arts is largely about the development of self-esteem. Therefore, you want to find a martial arts school where the instructors emphasize the effort as well as the result.
  • To build self-esteem, martial arts instructors must acknowledge, recognize and reward the efforts of the student. Some martial arts schools emphasize the effort and others emphasize the result. For students to gain the greatest benefits from martial arts, look for a school that emphasizes the struggle over the accomplishments and successes.
  • Perseverance is the steadfast pursuit of a task, mission, or journey in spite of obstacles, discouragement, or distraction. In contrast, grit is argued to be a trait of perseverance. Grit enables an individual to persevere in accomplishing a goal despite obstacles over an extended period.

To summarize, the two most important criteria in selecting a martial arts school should be these:

  1. Level of emphasis on personal character development and a teaching approach that is focused on building self-esteem.
  2. To evaluate a school against these two criteria, you should discuss them with the school’s instructors. Also, you should observe a class, paying particular attention to what is emphasized and how the instructors teach the classes.
    Competitive Edge Karate’s Self-Defense System was designed with the purpose of Creating Valuable and Positive Change. It is a clear, compelling, principle-driven approach to self-defense training that develops strength and conditioning, confidence in being able to defend yourself and by combining a champion’s mindset with a meaningful message-based approach designed to enhance a student’s overall life skills.  CEK cultivates a student’s sense of self-discovery through self-defense skills.

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Does Your Child Know About Stranger Danger

Children can be very trusting of others, an issue that can lead to serious problems if a stranger’s intent is malicious. While many strangers are nice, a child needs to learn to recognize a situation to avoid stranger danger from those who aren’t trustworthy.

A parent can help a youngster by teaching and reinforce the following concepts.

Defining a Stranger

It’s important to emphasize that a stranger is someone not known to a child or to the family.

A common perception established through cartoons and other avenues is that a stranger looks scary, but this may not be the case in real life. Help a child to understand that a person’s appearance alone isn’t enough to determine whether they are nice or not.

Additionally, explain that being recognized or called by name by a stranger doesn’t mean that the child or family know that individual.

Good Strangers

It’s important to help children understand that not every stranger is bad.

Some strangers have jobs of protecting or helping others, and a child may need to approach safe strangers in instances of need. For example, firefighters and police officers are easy to recognize.

In work settings, school officials such as teachers and office staff may be strangers who can help. An employee in a store at a cash register or desk may be helpful, especially if a youngster is lost. Provide examples of situations and locations where help may be safely sought.

Understanding Dangerous Scenarios

Role playing or discussing dangerous situations can help a child who needs to better understand how to deal with strangers.

Warning signs of suspicious situations may include:

-An adult asking a child to disobey his parents
-An individual asking a child to keep a secret
-Any situation that makes a child feel uncomfortable

A youngster should be taught to deal with these situations as well. “No, go, yell and tell” is a simple mnemonic device to help a child remember what to do when in an uncomfortable situation.

-It is okay to say no to a stranger.
-It is important to go someplace else, leave the situation.
-It may be necessary to yell for help.
-It is important to tell an adult about suspicious individuals.

Safety Measures

Parents play a key role in keeping children safe from stranger danger by knowing where their youngsters are at all times.

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