Advice for Parents: How to Build Mental Toughness in Your Children for Life!

Every parent want what's best for their children! But in so doing, there is a tendency that they might over protect them from failures, and, in turn, hinder their children's full potential!

Parents want to protect their children from bad experiences so as to make them happy -- which is a natural parental instinct! However, some of these behaviors may actually be symptoms of over-protection! For example, ...

  • trying to solve all of the child's problems or school homework;

  • being overly concerned with the child's well-being or academic grades;

  • discouraging your child from doing things that might lead to possible failures;

  • being overly supportive or sympathetic when things don't go as planned.

But are you an over-protective parent? Because if you are, you could be doing what the faculties at the Universities of Harvard and Stanford say your children are -- "failure deprived." When they grow up to be young adults, failure deprived children are (a) more likely to be unable to deal with setbacks or disappointments faced in the real world, and (b) may subsequently lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression.

So, what's the solution to this?

Let your children fail. And often.

Children need to learn how to pick themselves up or bounce back from disappointments, mistakes, setbacks, and failures. And here are some practical tips to consider:

1. Play competitive sport. Studies show that teenagers who play sport are mentally tougher than those who don't! Sport is a great place for dealing with "organized failure."

2. Treat failure and success the same. Both have lessons to be learned. Ask them what did they learn from every experience, win or lose.

3. Share your own experiences of failure. Let your children know that you too experienced failures. This will help encourage them and to let them know that they can also work through their own setbacks.

4. Be there for them. Experiencing failure is tough. So, be a social support for them if they need a listening ear, but give them space and time to vent (where needed).

For more support, consider working with a certified mental toughness coach or sport & performance psychologist to help your child develop greater mental toughness! More information can be found here

SportPsych Consulting is proud to have been an Official Supporter and Exclusive Sport Psychology Training Provider for the national athletes, their parents, coaches, and team managers at the highly successful 28th SEA Games 2015! 

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