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13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do

Raising Self-Assured Children and Training Their Brains for a Life of Happiness, Meaning, and Success

By Amy Morin
15-minute read
Audio available
13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do by Amy Morin

13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do (2017) teaches parents how not to hold kids back from reaching their true behavioral, emotional, and academic potential. Many of today’s parenting practices don’t prepare children for adulthood – but these blinks demonstrate how to raise children to have the mental strength necessary to handle our increasingly complicated world.

  • New parents who want to empower their kids from the get-go
  • Parents in need of some midcourse parenting advice and solutions
  • People who want to learn how parenting practices affect child psychology

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and foster mother. She is the bestselling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do and is a regular contributor to Forbes, Psychology Today, and Verywell.

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13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do

Raising Self-Assured Children and Training Their Brains for a Life of Happiness, Meaning, and Success

By Amy Morin
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do by Amy Morin
Synopsis

13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do (2017) teaches parents how not to hold kids back from reaching their true behavioral, emotional, and academic potential. Many of today’s parenting practices don’t prepare children for adulthood – but these blinks demonstrate how to raise children to have the mental strength necessary to handle our increasingly complicated world.

Key idea 1 of 9

Mentally strong parents promote responsibility and perseverance over a victim mentality.

Everywhere you look, there’s advice about helping your child stay physically fit. But what about other important kinds of fitness, like mental or emotional well-being? There’s little in life that benefits a person as much as learning to be mentally strong. A mentally strong child is more likely to turn setbacks into opportunities and face hardship without feeling sorry for himself.

So what’s the best way to raise a mentally strong child? By practicing good, healthy habits yourself – which makes you capable of passing them on to your child.

For example, it’s natural to want to defend your child when they’ve been wronged. The age of social media has led many parents to encourage feelings of victimhood in response to every slight. Mentally strong parents refuse to do this. You want your child to be empowered to handle life’s challenges rather than always seeing himself as the victim of circumstance.

Take the example of Cody, a 14-year-old who was prescribed ADHD medication. His teachers reported that he was calmer and more attentive as a result, but his grades didn’t improve. His parents’ response? To demand that he be assigned less work than his peers.

Cody’s workload wasn’t the problem, however. He had developed what researchers call learned helplessness – he believed that his ADHD made him fundamentally incapable, and his parents had reinforced this idea. Once they started treating him like he was equipped to handle his responsibilities, he began to put in effort, and his grades soon turned around.

Mentally strong parents don’t let their children avoid responsibility, either. Instead of letting your child blame others for his problems, hold him accountable and let him face the consequences of his actions. If you don’t, how is he supposed to learn to cope with the inevitable injustices he’ll face in life?

You can also help your child at home. Assign him household responsibilities, for one – research shows that kids who have to do chores from an early age become more successful, empathetic, and self-reliant adults. Let him handle problems by himself, too. According to sociologist Steven Horwitz, children need to practice resolving conflict on their own during unstructured playtime. If they always rely on adults to intervene, they’re more likely to blame others.

Finally, teach your child to choose true thoughts over BLUE ones. BLUE thoughts are ones in which you Blame everyone else, Look for the bad news, fall prey to Unhappy guessing (that is, assuming the worst), and are Exaggeratedly negative. True thoughts, on the other hand, involve accepting responsibility, pointing out the good, taking action, and looking for exceptions.

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