“Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet, they belong not to you.” – Kahlil Gibran
Parenting is an art and science. It is an art because it is subjective and depends on the traits and characteristics of individual parent and child. And it is a science because no matter how different and varied we are; there are certain rules of parenting that are applicable to every parent and child in this world irrespective of country, religion, and gender. So, here comes a book offering certain parenting rules, which shows us how to raise mentally strong and resilient children.
Helping a child grow into a mentally strong person is one of the best things a parent can do. Mental strength is an important attribute that determines one’s success in life. The book’s name is “13 things mentally strong parents don’t do,” and the author of the book is Amy Morin.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and an expert in family and teen therapy. Her book is based on her real-life experiences and insight. “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do” combines case studies, practical tips, specific strategies, and proven exercises to help children build mental muscle and develop into healthy, strong adults. This book is a great help in parenting children of all ages—from preschoolers to teenagers.
Here are 16 parenting tips derived from this book.
1. Encourage your child to work not only on physical fitness but also on other important aspects like emotional and mental well-being. Teach them the importance of positive thoughts and emotions in life and various strategies that can help them. When your child learns that wellness is holistic and should include emotional and mental well-being, he grows into a well-developed personality.
2. Encourage your child to face the consequences of her actions instead of defending. When your child makes a mistake, instead of defending or shouting, encourage your child to face the mistake and learn from it.
3. Assign small household responsibilities suitable to your child’s ability. Research shows that kids who do chores from an early age become more successful, empathetic, and self-reliant adults. Give your child ownership of certain tasks. This builds accountability and responsibility in your child.
4. Research shows that 94% of mothers feel experience “mommy guilt.” Don’t be guilty about being ‘not a good enough’ parent. Parenting is a process and not a state of perfection. When you are guilty as a parent, your parenting decisions are made out of this guilt, and this drives you to give in to the unhealthy demands of the child. So, keep guilt at bay. Also, forgive yourself and let go of the guilt because your children learn by seeing you, and you don’t want to set the example of guilt and self-condemnation to your child.
5. As your child grows into teens, encourage your child to step out of his or her comfort zone. This will help your child learn self-reliance.
6. Don’t make your child feel she or he is the center of the Universe. When you overly pamper your child, your child may develop a superiority complex and a false sense of entitlement. Superiority complex makes it difficult for your child to face the reality of life.
7. Teach your child humility through your actions and words.
8. Encourage your child to spend time in nature. Research shows that when a child spends time in nature, it reminds the child that there is something grander and greater than herself, and it brings in the sense of humility.
9. Don’t encourage your child to strive for perfection. Instead, encourage your child to strive for excellence. Focussing on perfection creates pressure on your child, which is unhealthy. Focussing on excellence helps your child give the best to any work which the child undertakes.
10. When you need to criticize your child, use a praise-criticism-praise sandwich technique. For example, you can say something like – “You did great in Maths. You can do better in science. But you are very good at sports.”
11. Help your child learn and grow from his mistakes. Share examples from your life on how you handled your mistakes and have grown in life because of these mistakes.
12. Avoid harsh methods of punishment, like beating or publicly humiliating your child. Research shows that beating a child increases aggression, causes behavior problems and mental issues in the child. The child needs guidance and mentoring, and at the same time, the child needs respect as well for a healthy growth.
13. Parenting needs high energy levels. When you are low on energy, you tend to choose ways like yelling, beating, or giving in to your child’s demands. So, keep yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally recharged.
14. Have a family mission statement where all your family members sit together and derive the values important to you as a family. Form a mission statement based on these values and keep this statement in a visible place. This statement reminds your child about what is important to you as a family.
15. Allow your child to experience a wide range of emotions. This process helps in building mental and emotional muscles. Support your child and be with him in this process.
16. Encourage your child to practice gratitude while having food or through gratitude journaling. Gratitude helps your child realize the value of things in life and brings humility.
These are some tips derived from this book.
This book offers several real-life examples of parenting, which makes it a great read and a wonderful aid for parenting. Parenting is a skill, and it takes time to become better at it. So, don’t expect perfection out of yourself or your child. Enjoy the process and evolve organically.
Wish you and your family peace and love.
“When you’re feeling overtired and stretched too thin, it may seem incomprehensible to squeeze in a little ‘me time.’ But the times when you feel like you can’t possibly spare a minute for yourself, are likely the times when you need ‘me time’ the most.”- Amy Morin