Psychotherapist Amy Morin has built a career on identifying the characteristics that mentally strong people share and after writing not one, but three books on the subject, it's fair to say she's somewhat of an expert.
In 2017, she published her second book on being mentally strong, entitled, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do.
The book aims to teach parents how to become mental strength coaches through sharing specific strategies, case studies, tips and exercises you can try at home.
But if you don't have time to savour every chapter, there are a few simple things you can start doing as of right now.
In a post on Instagram, Morin recently revealed five things parents should stop telling their children, if they want them to grow up to be resilient.
She explained: "The words you use make a big difference. If you're not careful, you might send a message that instills unhealthy habits that could drain kids of mental strength they need to reach their greatest potential."
The first phrase she recommends you stop saying is It's no big deal.
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Whether your little one is worried about performing in a school play or has fallen out with one of their closest pals, you shouldn't brush off their concerns, no matter how inconsequential they may seem.
Instead accept that they think it is a big deal and help them cope with their emotions.
The second thing she advises is never to tell your child to stop crying.
According to Morin, there's nothing wrong with crying as it's a healthy way to show someone how you feel.
If your kid is causing a scene in the supermarket or while out for dinner, simply explain to them that their behaviour isn't ok - but let them know that their emotions are.
As well as this, you shouldn't be telling children they are the smartest kid in the whole school as "exaggerated praise can do more harm than good".
The final two phrases to avoid are everything will work out fine and calm down.
A father accompanied his 8-year-old son into my therapy office and said, "I'm so proud of him for being so strong. He hasn't cried once since his grandmother died."? ? It was a shining example of how mental strength gets misconstrued and turned into a toxic message for kids.? ? Mental strength involves knowing how to express them in healthy ways--such as crying when you're sad.? ? Here are 5 things you should stop saying to kids if you want them to be mentally strong:? ? 1??"It's no big deal."? ? Whether your child says she's anxious about her recital or she's concerned her friend is mad at her, don't minimize her emotions.? ? Rather than insist she shouldn't be concerned, give her the skills she needs to cope with her distress.? ? 2??"Stop crying."? ? One of the reasons so many adults likely apologize when they shed a tear is because they were taught crying is bad. Crying is a healthy way to express emotions.? ? Of course, if your child is screaming and rolling around in the middle of the grocery store, address it. Just make sure you correct your child's behavior, but not the emotion.? ? 3??"You're the smartest kid in the whole school."? ? Make praise genuine. And focus on the effort more than the achievement.? ? Don’t just praise your child when she excels either. It could cause her to back off from trying anything where she might fail.? ? 4??"Everything will work out fine."? ? It's normal to want to reassure your kids that everything is always going to be OK. But you can't prevent them from encountering hardships--or even tragedies.? ? Instead of telling them that nothing bad will happen, give them the coping skills and tools they need to handle life's inevitable challenges.? ? 5??"Calm down."? ? Saying, "calm down," never helps anyone feel calm.? ? Proactively teach skills to de-escalate himself. Then remind him of those skills she can calm his mind and his body.? ? ????Raise Mentally Strong Kids? ? Every day you have opportunities to either help kids create habits that build mental muscle or habits that will drain them of mental strength. If you catch yourself using these types of phrases, shift your parenting strategies.
Morin explains that while you may want to reassure your child that things are ok, sometimes things aren't alright and people have to deal with hard times - you won't always be able to prevent your child from experiencing this.
She says: "Instead of telling them that nothing bad will happen, teach them that they're strong enough to deal with whatever life throws their way."
And like with telling a child to stop crying, telling them to calm down may not be the best idea.
If your child is upset or angry, help them to learn how to "de-escalate" themselves, perhaps by taking several deep breaths or going for a walk.
The expert added: "If you catch yourself using these types of phrases, shift your parenting strategies."
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