Opinion, Siskiyou

How to Raise Kids Who are Mentally Tough

Author Ivy Xu
October 20, 2023
Luckily, mental toughness is a skill that can be developed over time. 

Here’s how to teach it to your kids:

1. Manufacture hardship.

“Manufacturing hardship is key to developing lasting mental toughness,” says Polina. “It happens when you regularly stress-test yourself by intentionally introducing hardship into your everyday life.”

In other words, to get better at handling challenges, our kids must regularly challenge themselves — on purpose. 

David Goggins started by making a list of things he didn’t want to do…

And then he started doing the things on the list. 

Building mental toughness gave David a new identity, from which he found new self-esteem.

Try having them your kids:

  • Pick up a new sport
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Sign up for a challenging class at school

The key is to make sure they stay consistent, even when they don’t feel like practicing. They’ll grow from overcoming the challenge.

2. Track your growth over time.

Another term for mental toughness is what Angela Duckworth calls grit:

Sounds pretty great — but how can you help your kids become more gritty?

Multiple studies have shown that tracking your progress can help you achieve your goals.

But when your goal is something intangible, like building mental toughness, it can be difficult to determine whether you’ve been successful or not.

That’s why Angela created a numeric grit scale that can help your kids self-assess how gritty they are.

This allows them to measure their progress over time 👇️ 

  • Have your kids self-assess now.
  • In a few months, have them do it again.
  • Let them see how much they’ve improved.

Seeing tangible improvements in their mindset will encourage them to keep going.

3. Cut out the self-sabotage.

When your kids face a challenge, they might end up self-sabotaging. 

How do you know when your kids are self-sabotaging? Here are the sneaky signs:

  • They’re avoiding doing the things they know they should
  • They’re blaming outside forces for why they can’t achieve their goals
  • They suddenly stop wanting to do something they used to love doing, without any reasonable explanation

Brianna Wiest, author of The Mountain is You, says we self-sabotage in order to avoid discomfort.

Chances are, they’re just heading outside of their comfort zone. This is a good thing, but it doesn’t always feel like a good thing.

So if your kids are self-sabotaging, how can you help them get comfortable being uncomfortable?

Brianna says you must address the root of your kid’s discomfort.

❓Ask them: 

  • What are you afraid of? 
  • What discomfort are you avoiding?

Maybe your kid missed an easy pitch at their last game and they’re feeling afraid of it happening again. 

Run through that worst-case scenario. If their fear came true, what would they do? 

Help your kid realize that they have a choice about how they react to this fear. 

👉 Sure, they can let it make them quit softball so they never have that experience again.

👉 Or, they can practice harder and improve their skills, so that next time they step onto the field, they’re prepared to do better.

What kind of person does your kid want to be? The one that quits, or the one that keeps going?

We can raise kids who let adversity scare them, defeat them, or make them feel like the world is against them.

Or we can raise kids who take adversity in stride, use it as fuel, and grow stronger from it. 🌟

source: https://prequel.beehiiv.com/p/teach-kids-to-be-tough?utm_source=prequel.beehiiv.com&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=the-science-of-grit

I’ve studied tactics from superstar writers, college essay advisors, and award-winning storytellers, and developed a quick-start method that takes students from a blank page to a successful essay in half the time.

I tried it out on some super busy high school seniors, and they got into schools like UC Berkeley, Cornell, and Columbia. No biggie. 😉 

So I’m running a bootcamp starting Oct 28. If your student is struggling with crafting a winning college essay, join me, and we’ll solve that problem in a week!

Spaces are limited – learn more here 👇

CEO PrequelBETA CampApollo
Follow my journey on LinkedIn

One Comment

  1. The Native American


    Either his article is a quick guide to make your own trophy child and/or inflict more existing trauma on the child! If you’re a parent, please do don’t this!

    Brianna Wies IS NOT a qualified specialist, psychologist, licensed therapist! SHE’S A LIFE COACH with a major in literature/writing! Are you going to trust a life coach to treat potential existing trauma and psychological issues of children, let alone give advice!?

    If your child is struggling, you will need to understand why they are behaving in such as way and seek help instead of trying to do a quick fix! There are no shortcuts to this things for “instant success!”. Just because a life coach helped get kids into “better schools” this doesn’t translate into proper healing and things turn uglier than necessary.

    For reference, I have studied child psychology extensively in my field and studied under licensed and board certified psychologists that specialized in children psychology.

    Heck, don’t even take my advice! The best thing you can do for your children if they are struggling with something is take them to a qualified/licensed therapist, counselor, or behavioral specialist (please seek help from the community/schools if you must for help with resources) to get them evaluated.

    I have a younger sister who unfortunately gained weight in a short time which was cause by trauma (sexual assault). I am not about to follow some silly life coach advice and step in and call her lazy or unmotivated to make her “lose weight” or “feel better” for “success” when she’s suffered physical/mental trauma: It doesn’t work that way. Luckily, she’s getting the proper support and help from a qualified specialist.

    Behavioral issues and trauma need to be addressed first before taking any other steps to help motivate and keep children active! Take it one step at a time, people!

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