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Here’s how to help your kids become mentally strong

Hint: It starts with you

Mother and daughter

Most of my work with Mindset Mamas focuses on helping moms find and pursue their purpose. This means committing to working on your mindset and starting along the self-development path. For moms willing to go there, the results are truly life-changing. But, I won’t lie—it requires self-care, mental toughness, and building confidence in yourself to find your purpose and have the courage to pursue it.

I typically focus most of my content on how moms can help themselves because I believe it’s critical for moms to have their own identity. While I’m a big proponent of defining yourself as more than “Mom” or “Dad”, there are few things worse than seeing your kids struggle. You feel total helplessness at a time when all you want to do is help.

So, this article is dedicated to you and your kid(s). May we always be working on building confidence in kids and ourselves.

I realized there was a serious need for a conversation around this topic because I’ve been coaching high school athletes for the past few months. My kids are still really little so sometimes I forget how difficult the adolescent and teen years can be.  

Technology isn’t helping

We all know by now that the impact technology is making isn’t always positive. I’ve seen more truly talented kids lack mental toughness and confidence in themselves than ever before. Having grown up in a culture of instant gratification, kids connect achievement with time. In other words, when something doesn’t come quickly they believe they’ve failed. Practicing leads to stress rather than a feeling of progress.

This isn’t just true for high school athletes. Academics and other extracurriculars find students lacking mental toughness as well. And in many cases, the little ones don’t even get immunity here. I notice my son, Owen (3), wanting to give up on something very quickly if he doesn’t master it immediately. 

This is a sad, scary realization and something needs to be done about it.

How do we begin building confidence in our kids?

As our world continues to be in crisis mode it’s time to pay extra close attention to our children’s mental state. Whether they’re finishing preschool or high school (and every phase in between), raising mentally strong kids must be at the top of the priority list.

But where do we even begin?

There are countless ways to build confident kids. You’ll find great resources from doctors, experts, educators and more all over the internet. My humble opinion is a little different. 

TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR.

There’s no better way to teach your kids than to model behavior yourself. Sometimes we forget that our children are constantly watching us. 

They see us becoming addicted to our phones.
They listen to the things we say about ourselves and others.
They can tell when we’re confident and when we’re not.

It doesn’t matter how old your kids are; they feed off of your energy and emotions.

The easiest and most effective way to raise mentally strong children of any age is to be self-aware. Think about the message you’re sending your kids each day. Are they hearing you laugh, seeing you smile, and watching proudly as you aim for progress?

As you do the inner work, such as speaking positively to yourself and practicing self-care even when it’s mentally tough for you to do, your children will notice. 

Your child’s mental health starts with you

Finding ways to become mentally strong yourself is easier said than done. But if you can dedicate just 10 minutes a day to it, you, and your kids will experience boosts of confidence. With all of the information out there about self-care, personal development, and mindset you would think we would all be experts by now. But in an attempt to arm us with self-care information, society has instead overwhelmed us. With advice coming from so many directions, many parents simply don’t know where to start—so they just don’t.

Here’s the easiest way to begin feeling mentally tough so that your children start to notice and build confidence to do the same:

  1. Start with daily affirmations. Try talking nicely to yourself every day by repeating the phrase, “I deserve to be happy” as many times and ways as possible. Say it out loud when you’re in the car, in your head while you’re exercising, write it down, etc.
  2. Even if you don’t believe what you’re saying, the more you repeat it the more you will actually start to believe it. Isn’t the phrase, fake it till you make it?
  3. If you start integrating affirmations into your life your mental toughness will improve. You don’t have to listen to 15 different podcasts, have a two-hour morning routine, or meditate for 30 minutes a day to start to be mentally strong. It all begins with small changes every day. This is also how you avoid overwhelm. When you’ve mastered affirmations, move on to something new.
  4. Your children will notice a difference in you. And when they see that mom or dad is confident, they’ll start to believe they can be, too. When our kids see us taking care of ourselves, they don’t feel as “weird” doing things to make themselves mentally strong as well. 

We all want our kids to be confident in themselves. And it’s most certainly possible at any age. But let’s be real for a second—it starts with you. Take a look inside and see where you can begin to make little changes. Each effort will help you and your child create big changes.

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