Are we raising kids to be mentally tough?
When the going gets tough,
the tough get going
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics may be over, but millions remain thoroughly inspired by athletes across the globe. Our very own Filipino athletes have much heart and spirit. Win or lose, they have shown us the value of hard work and perseverance in achieving dreams with the right mindset.
But how is it that these athletes are able to stay at the top of their game while being watched by the whole world?
Mental Strength is defined in sports psychology as "the ability to consistently perform toward the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of competitive circumstance." Playing this mental game against yourself is just as important as being skilled in the sport in itself in order for athletes to perform at their absolute best even under extreme pressure.
Athletes are tasked to focus exclusively on what they are doing in the here-and-now, tuning out the fact that millions are watching or the possibility of missing. Being able to do so in the most difficult of situations comes from experience.
This strikes a chord with us here in the BrainRx Philippines center. Alongside sharpening cognitive skills, we train our students how to remain mentally tough even as they are faced with challenges. This concept is not exclusive to sports at all.
Here are some tips if you're looking to help your child develop mental toughness to handle the ups and downs of life:
1. Give your child responsibility
Help them understand the link between their actions and its consequences. Delaying their chores by goofing off could mean reduced playtime later in the day. Not saving or earning money means they won't be able to buy a game that they want. Unnecessary multitasking like checking social media while doing homework prolongs the duration of the task.
2. Make room for mistakes
Help your child know that making mistakes are potential learning experiences. Avoid punishing mistakes that had the intent to help, like breaking a glass while trying to help wash the dishes, since this could discourage them from trying the same chore again. Acknowledge their mistake, and then provide them with alternatives. You may use the prompt "Instead of ____, try ____"
3. Encourage them to face fears and allow discomfort
Create opportunities for your child to try new things, and explain that these experiences may be uncomfortable at first. You can remind them of a food or activity they once disliked but now love. Accepting discomfort and fear in some challenges develops critical thinking and a growth mindset equipped to handle future stressors.
Want some more tips? We recommend this article detailing ways to gently teach your child to be mentally strong.
Sources: https://www.realbuzz.com/articles-interests/sports-activities/article/mental-strength-in-sports/ https://kidsvillage.com/6-tips-mentally-strong-child/ Background vector created by macrovector - www.freepik.com People vector created by freepik - www.freepik.com People vector created by pch.vector - www.freepik.com
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- E, mom of 8-year old S.