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.
No app is more integral to teens’ social lives than Instagram. While Millennials relied on Facebook to navigate high school and college, connect with friends, and express themselves online, Gen Z’s networks exist almost entirely on Instagram. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of teens use the platform, which now has more than 1 billion monthly users. Instagram allows teens to chat with people they know, meet new people, stay in touch with friends from camp or sports, and bond by sharing photos or having discussions.
As a growing number of #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport stories have put a new focus on childhood sexual abuse, parents may have an urgent sense that they should frame conversations with their children about their bodies as safety lessons. But doubling down on warnings is the opposite of what children really need. In researching my new book about how gender equality begins with great sex ed, I learned that teaching what’s good about bodies, sex and love is actually what gives children a secure sense of body sovereignty, boundaries and consent.Children who feel confident in their body knowledge may be quicker to identify when something is awry, and those who learn empathy and egalitarianism less likely to cross another person’s boundaries……
Almost all parents worry about the health and safety of their newborn children. In fact, we’re evolutionarily programmed to scan our environments for any potential threat to the little life we are now charged with preserving. You might worry that your child will stop breathing in the night. That a car might leap onto the sidewalk and mow down you and your stroller. Or, even, that you could do something to harm your new baby, like drown her during those awkward newborn sponge baths……
Obsessive photo-sharing isn’t new to the social media world. The instinct has long been there; it’s just that it used to require a lot more overhead. In the 1970s, for example, there was the post-vacation slide show, in which relatives and friends of the lucky travelers had the bad luck to be buttonholed into two hours of photos with lengthy you-had-to-be-there anecdotes.Then there was the business-guy-with-pictures-of-his-kids-in-his-wallet, something that ingrained itself in my mind so robustly that to this day I think I should be carrying around physical pictures of my son Thomas (as though I don’t have a small metal-and-glass rectangle that contains more photos of Thomas than existed in the universe before 1900)……
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/why-im-posting-my-kids-photos-and-sharing-him-with-the-world/2018/08/30/f0cd085a-9cda-11e8-8d5e-c6c594024954_story.html?utm_term=.cdbeb354f68b
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I’m letting my heart spill out through my keyboard… metaphorically, of course, and I’m offering it all to you. Today, I’m going to talk about my mental health. This is something that I’ve worked to conceal for a long time, mostly because of the negative stigma attached to mental illness. I’m sharing for two main […]
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Lawmakers in France recently passed a ban on the use of smartphones in schools, impacting students in their early to midteens. In U.S. school districts where digital device policies are all over the map, parents and teachers are divided on how to curb or permit phone use in the classroom.
Some schools have students stash their phones in their lockers – as they do for middle schoolers in my Northern New Jersey town. Others have kids place them in a canvas “pocket chart” – essentially a hanging shoe organizer – in the classroom.
What most everyone agrees on is that screen-time addiction is a problem for young and old, an issue that companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook are finally tackling with recently announced software updates. You hear all too often how kids who are fixated on smartphone screens are only modeling the behavior of their parents. (It’s also not unheard of that a teacher also may use a phone in the classroom, to check on his or her own family at home.)
According to nonprofit family media watchdog Common Sense Media, 24 percent of kids from 8 to 12 years old have their own smartphone and 67 percent of their teenage counterparts do, with tweens using an average of about six hours’ worth of entertainment media daily.
Compounding the confusion is the age at which families give their kids a phone – often, but not always, when the youngster is about to enter middle school. But what effect does a kid who has a phone that’s visible at school have on a classmate who doesn’t have his or her own handset?
Some schools implement “one-to-one” programs to provide computers, tablets or other mobile devices to each student. Other cash-strapped districts may have to share tech gear in the classroom. And some educators may even encourage students to bring their own devices for class use.
It’s safe to assume that most schools aren’t about to dictate to a parent that a kid can or cannot use a device on the way to or from school, though some do actually ask families to sign commitments to temper tech use.
Keeping all this in mind, here are some of the arguments made for and against a stricter cellphone-use policy in schools.
Why cellphones should be permitted in schools
“Have a plan, not a ban,” says Liz Kline, vice president for education at Common Sense Education in the San Francisco Bay Area, a group whose mission is to help kids thrive in a world of media and technology. “There are legitimate learning contexts for using devices in the classroom,” Kline says, whether students are making movies or studying photography.
Kline acknowledges that digital distraction is “totally real,” and she recognizes that setting up the classroom norms for when it’s appropriate to use a phone – and when it is not – is not a simple matter.
Lisa Highfill, an instructional technology coach at the Pleasanton Unified public and secondary school district in Pleasanton, California, believes letting students have phones helps them prepare for higher education and eventually the workplace. “How many people go to work each day and turn their phone in?” she asks. “To me, getting ready for career and college is learning how to avoid the distraction of your phone.”
Educators should have dialogs with students about when and why kids feel compelled to pick up their devices, she says. “Teach students how to refocus, how to take care of something that is really nagging at them and then move on and put it away … Self-monitoring is a lifelong skill that we have an opportunity to integrate into our lessons.”
Of course, there ought to be times when phones are put away or even collected by teachers, no questions asked, namely during test time. Indeed, some students use the devices to cheat.
Safety concerns are also often given as a reason to let kids have devices at school. When there’s an accident or tragic incident, the presence of phones lets parents get in touch with the kids, and the kids can get in touch with a parent.
“Phones are as much for peace of mind of parents as they are for kids,“ says New York City-based social media coach Sree Sreenivasan, a parent and co-founder of the Digimentors consulting firm.
But parents may also try to reach the youngsters under more routine circumstances.
“I ask kids all the time, who do you normally get texts from during school? Their friends, of course,” Highfill says. “But their mothers are texting them, and it’s actually very practical. ‘Don’t forget to talk to your math teacher’ or ‘don’t forget you have this appointment at the end of the day.’ ”
Kline adds another dimension to the let-kids-have-phones-in-school argument. In some lower-income areas where there’s concern surrounding the digital divide, the school might offer the kind of speedy internet access that is not available at home. “I think there is some nuance around this,” she says.
And then there’s this argument: Restrictions just might not work.
“I really believe that the more rules and restrictions you put on top down, the more kids will just work to try to work around those rules. And they’re good at it, the best hackers,” Highfill says.
When her IT department blocked Snapchat access at school, kids built their own server as a workaround. Highfill also knows of students who put their cellphone cases – but not the phones themselves – inside pocket charts to fool teachers.
The case against phones in class
“When we’re asking these 12 to 13 year olds to carry the phone and not be on them, we 100 percent know that’s not happening,” says Delaney Ruston, a physician and director of the documentary “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age.” “You can go into any classroom or ask any middle schooler, and they will tell you consistently how they and/or their friends are sneaking being on the phones during class times.”
The consequences? According to the “Away For The Day” initiative Ruston developed with the team behind “Screenagers” to try to institute policies requiring phones to be put away, 56 percent of middle schools allow students to carry phones on them all day, yet 82 percent of parents don’t want their kids using phones there.
The Away For The Day website cites various academic studies that point to potential negative outcomes of classroom phone use. In one such study, 75 percent of teachers reported that the attention spans of students have decreased. In another study, students regularly interrupted by text messages had test scores that were 10.6 percent lower.
Ruston believes that putting the phones away can improve a child’s emotional well-being in school and help with their focus in and out of the classroom.
And while she recognizes that a teacher might ask a kid to pull out a phone during a given lesson, “to do X, Y, Z … the reality is that many of these kids now on their personal device have gotten so many notifications that they’re actually not going to whatever the teacher is saying they should be doing, but instead sending and receiving messages or going onto their video games.”
“You’re already going to have those struggles with (school supplied) educational devices,” Ruston adds, “but it gets exponentially more challenging when it’s a personal device.”
Even if a device on a student’s desk is turned off, the worry is that it still becomes a distraction.
Ruston also dismisses the safety argument. She pointed to an NPR report in which security experts have said that letting a kid have a phone in the classroom during a lockdown makes them less safe, not more. When students should be quiet, for example, a ringing or vibrating phone might alert an assailant where kids are hiding. Parents trying to reach youngsters in an emergency might jam communications and interfere with first responders. And the kids might miss instructions from the authorities.
But Ruston concedes that “that’s not to say there’s not an emotional upside for a parent.”
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It’s been a while since I can say I felt peaceful or even calm. Years in fact! So what does the word ‘Peace’ actually mean. Well this is what I found. I particularly liked the second one as it feels like life has been like fighting a war! “freedom from disturbance; tranquillity” “a state or […]
I am tired. I am sick and I have a husband and a child at home that I homeschool and I don’t sleep well and my body hurts and I AM TIRED. So, “make my life easier in any way humanly possible” is my motto. Ask and ye shall receive! The internet provides and it […]
The Importance of Psychology in Family Life
Monkey See Monkey Do
Children repeat what they see. That is called Modeling Behavior in the psychology field. This is why I have stated that knowing your past and your childhood is essential for evaluating yourself and your own patterns.
Often times when a child is in an unstable environment (whether a parent is an alcoholic, neglectful, abusive, or an addict in general), either that child will vow to never become their parents (and are successful due to their own genetic & characteristic predispositions) or they end up repeating the patterns they grew up with and essentially become the unstable parent they witnessed growing up and falling into the same patterns (again, due to genetic or characteristic predispositions).
Fun fact: Genes can be essentially “turned on” or “turned off” by your environment (hence why I keep saying environment is important!). For example, if anyone knows the neuroscientist James Fallon, you will know he is a psychopath. Before you get scared, he is a non-violent psychopath. I wrote an extensive research paper on why some psychopaths end up being violent versus non-violent, and to make a long story short, James Fallon ended up in a very loving home.
His parents wanted a child so bad and it took so many years for them to have him that by the time he arrived he was loved by every family member and supported. He has the genes of a psychopath, but his environment enabled the violent gene to stay turned off.
Think about your own life and the things you witnessed growing up. This goes back to thinking about your family of origin and the patterns you saw your parents in. For instance, if your father was an alcoholic that beat your mother and you, then you might go into the opposite direction and never have a drink in your life and never lay a hand on another, or you may end up an alcoholic yourself and find that violence is the way you have learned to solve issues because of what you saw growing up.
Let’s Talk About Feelings
Emotions are so important to acknowledge. Sadly, given our societal gender stereotypes, often times, parents fall into the trap of making their daughter express their emotions, engage in play with Barbie’s, where as they tell their son to “suck it up” and play with trucks. In my Child Development class, we addressed the gender stereotypes and that one of the reasons men may struggle with their inner world of emotions is because they were never taught to express and identify their emotions.
Parents, please, please, do talk to your children about emotions. Not just feelings of being afraid, being angry, being sad, and being happy, but the other emotions within those categories.
These are just some examples of getting into the many different emotions one can feel. Often times men, adult men (and some women), only know they are angry, sad, happy, or frustrated. Emotions are integral to emotional connection. Emotional connection is integral to a successful and happy marriage. If there is no emotional connection and the couple lives in two separate worlds and lives, that is not a happy marriage. Children watch, and children copy.
Empathy and Validation
Children need to be validated and empathized with. Often times, parents are invalidating without even being aware that they are invalidating. When a child comes up and says they feel sick, some parents may say, “It’s not that bad, you can go to school, don’t worry about it.” A more empathetic and validating response would be, “That must feel really bad. Being sick is never fun. Let me take your temperature to make sure you don’t have a fever and let’s see what we can do to help you feel more comfortable.”
Even in adulthood, if we have been around invalidating people growing up, we tend to fall into that trap of, “move on,” “get over it,” “it’s not that bad,” or “you’ll get over it, don’t worry” as a response to another person’s pain and distress.
When in relationships and marriage, empathy and validation are crucial to feeling emotionally safe with your partner. If you are not the most empathetic or validating person, that is something you can easily work on with your partner, especially if that is something they are strong in.
Parents Hidden Influence on Your Marriage
I have talked a lot about your childhood and your parents, and there is a reason for that. It’s because your parents are crucial in romantic relationships. We’ve talked about how they can influence you, and it’s important to be aware of.
For example, my mother is very independent, career oriented, and artsy. My father is very logical, intellectual and intelligent, and responsible. I have found that I myself follow in their footsteps in regard to wanting to focus on my career, valuing intellectuality and intelligence over other characteristics, and I am a highly responsible person that tends to clash with others who are more, “go with the flow” types.
I’ve also noticed that the way my parents interacted has impacted the way I interact with my husband. My mother used to leave the room if an argument got too much. I realize I do that in my own marriage because that is what I saw growing up. I’ve noticed that I expect romance from my husband because I saw my father be romantic with my mother (bringing her flowers home, writing her love letters, presents on Valentine’s Day, surprise dates and vacations, etc.).
Think about your own parents and how their behaviors might influence the way you are, act, and expect things to go in life. I’ll bet there are some things you’re going to think, “Crap, I’m my mom” or “crap, I’m my dad.” It’s not a bad thing, especially once it’s in your awareness. Once awareness occurs, improvements can be made, compromises can be agreed upon, and the correct changes can come to fruition.