Psychologists and parenting experts share top 4 tips for raising mentally strong children - and #3 is easier said than done

Instilling resilience in a child is vital to help them handle whatever comes their way as they grow up

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Psychologists and parenting experts have shared some simple tips for parents that can help them to raise resilient, mentally strong children. 

It's might seem like most of parents' time is spent caring for the practical needs of their children; taking them to school, feeding them three, healthy meals a day, teaching them to talk or do maths. But that's only one part of the parenting puzzle. The other? Raising them to be confident, happy, and well-rounded human beings. 

That often means we're instilling values and traits in our kids that will help them to grow up into happy adults. Parents today are keen to know how to raise confident kids or how to raise successful children as they prepare them to handle the world of tomorrow on their own as independent adults. 

A massively important pillar of this preparation is teaching kids how to look after their mental health. Especially in a world that's already plagued by  doomscrolling, the increasingly violent content kids are exposed to online, and cyberbullying, it's never been more important to raise mentally strong children. 

So how do you do that? Well, thankfully psychologists and parenting experts have teamed up to share four simple tips that can help parents to raise mentally resilient kids who will be able to handle whatever is thrown their way. 

1. Help them empower themselves. Talking to CNBC, psychotherapist Amy Morin explained that kids needs to learn how to boost their own confidence and their own self-esteem, rather than relying on others to do so for them. This, she says, will allow them to better navigate tough times and self-regulate their emotions when they feel them getting out of hand. 

With this skill, she says, “they are in charge of how they think, feel and behave — regardless of how those around them are doing.”

A great way to do this is to give your child a toolkit of phrases that they can say to themselves to boost their mood. "All I can do is try my best”, "Act confident”, “I’m good enough” and, “I choose to be happy today,” are all phrases Morin reccomends. 

2. Show them the value of doing something hard. Whether your child succeeds or fails at what they put their mind to, you should always praise them for taking on a difficult challenge, says psychologist Mary C. Murphy. This, she explains, will give them the necessary courage to get out of their comfort zones and better handle rejection if it does come their way. 

3. Stay optimistic - and lead by example. “The next time something happens, [you can say] ‘That’s OK, we’ve got this’,” educational psychologist Michele Borba tells parents. “If you keep saying it, you’re actually having your kid eavesdrop on your management strategy. And the most amazing thing is very often they pick it up, and now they have a way to talk back to the worry themselves.”  

4. Teach them how — and when — to apologise. It can be hard to admit you're in the wrong no matter what age you are. But, whether you do it by leading by example or you choose to have a serious chat with your kids, teaching them to have the emotional intelligence they need to realise when they should apologise will help them to develop respect and sincerity for others’ and their feelings. 

"Tough people take responsibility for their behaviour,” Morin says. “They offer sincere apologies when they regret their actions and strive to make amends whenever possible.”

In other family news, is your teen part of the ‘anxious generation?’ This is what experts have to say about protecting their mental health. Plus, a psychologist has revealed how ‘overparenting’ is making kids weak and what parents can do instead, and, if you're raising an anxious kid, here are 6 things that mental health experts want parents to know

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.