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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.
Read this blog post directly from Forbes.com HERE.
If your student is surfing the Web, you need to be paddling right alongside him — or at least observing him carefully from the shore.
While the Internet offers goodies galore (educational materials, fun games, and connections with people all over the world), it can also pose risks to your child's physical safety and emotional well-being.
Communicate with your child. Discuss what they are doing online and why. Set rules, and talk about them. Then keep talking, since your child can earn more rights and responsibilities as they grow. If they feel comfortable with these conversations, they will be more likely to let you know when they run into an online bully or stumbles upon inappropriate content. While keeping kids safe, be a role model with your own Internet habits, since your child is likely to emulate your behavior.
- Limit usage. Permit your child have free online time for, say, 30 minutes right after school to instant-message friends, play games, or visit social networking sites, but make it a rule that family time starts with dinner. After that the computer is used for homework and it's an IM-free zone.
- Keep kids in sight. Have the computer centrally located. Your child is less likely to browse questionable content if she knows Mom or Dad (or her brother or sister) might walk by at any second. This helps you monitor time spent online, chosen activities, and resultant behavior.
- Do your homework. Check his browser history to know where your child goes online, and check the sites regularly. Use security tools and privacy features — whether offered by your browser or Internet service provider, or purchased separately — for extra protection. GetNetWise has more information about these safety features.
Parents also need to understand what kids love to do online — and what risks go along with the rewards.
Communicating and social networking: Online communication consists primarily of email, instant messaging (IMs), chat rooms, and journals or Web logs (blogs). On networking sites such as Facebook, kids can create Web profiles, and then invite others to view and become online buddies. Your child may use these media to share gossip, exchange photos, make weekend plans, find out about missed assignments, connect over common interests, and express opinions.
What to know: One out of every five kids gets sexual solicitations online. Strangers, predators, and cyber-bullies all target children, and their work is simplified when screen names reveal age, gender, or hometown. If posts aren't marked as private, personal information can be displayed to an unrestricted audience of readers.
What to do:
Know who your child talks to online. Review her buddy list: does she really know everyone, or are some buddies "friends of friends"? Have her remove anyone whom she hasn't met in person.
Tell him not to exchange personal information like a phone number, address, best friend's name, or picture. No party invitations, revealing details, or meeting in person — ever.
Web surfing: Kids can explore new interests, check to see if a library book is available, or find a recipe for the class party in valuable resources, such as online encyclopedias, newspapers, and periodicals.
What to know: Surfing the Web without restrictions can mean encountering pop-up ads, viruses, erroneous information, and inappropriate content. The ease of cutting and pasting means that plagiarism is a real concern. And time flies online! Kids can click from one site to another until bedtime (or beyond), if you let them.
What to do:
Set a code of conduct and time limits. Keeping kids safe means setting guidelines about suitable language, content, and behavior. While it's important to direct your child to suitable websites, it's even more valuable to help her recognize the redeeming qualities of those sites, so she can surf safely on her own.
Critique content. Help your child think critically about the content he reads and sees. Encourage him to check facts with multiple sources before including them in a school report. Try to distinguish between user-generated content and reputable institutions.
For other ideas on keeping kids safe online, visit Commonsense.com
This article has been reposted from Scholastic.com