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Raise Mentally Strong Kids By Using These Phrases (Part 2)

According to Morin, here are phrases that parents of mentally strong kids avoid using when raising their children.


4. You're the best!

There's nothing wrong with praising your child when they perform well. But if your kids think they're only deserving of praise if they outperform everyone else, they'll suffer from unrealistic expectations and anxiety over the prospect of finishing anywhere but first, Morin says.

In extreme cases, this can lead to kids trying to finish first at any cost, even if they have to break the rules. "These are the kids who end up cheating when they get a bit older, because they think that's what is most important to Mom or Dad to be the best, rather than to be the nice kid or the honest kid," Morin says.

Instead, praise your child for their process studying hard or putting in a strong effort rather than the outcome, Morin advises. It can help kids stay motivated to work hard and succeed in the future, psychologists often note.


5. That's perfect!

Similarly, be careful not to raise a perfectionist: a child who thinks they always have to be "perfect" to deserve praise or love from their parents. Perfectionism in children is correlated with a range of mental health issues, from anxiety to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), research shows.

It may seem perfectly innocuous to tell your child that their painting looks "perfect" or that they played "perfectly" in a soccer game, but those comments can be the beginning of a pattern that leads to kids obsessing over every mistake, Morin says.

"Praise their effort, rather than the outcome," she advises. "Even if you think the picture looks beautiful, or they did a great job on the field, you might just praise them for working really hard, for trying. And, if they fell down, for getting back up again."

"I don't like your behaviour right now" - raise mentally strong kids

6. You're making me mad.

The idea that your feelings can be affected by someone else's behavior is counterproductive, Morin says. It can make kids think they aren't responsible for their actions. It can even lead to manipulative behavior, like when your child bosses around other kids instead of processing their own feelings, she adds.

"We don't want children growing up blaming other people for making them mad, for ruining their day, for causing them to feel horrible all of the time," Morin says. "We want kids to know: 'I'm empowered to control how I think, feel and behave.""

Try using phrases like "I don't like your behavior right now," or "I don't like the way that you're acting, here's what we could do instead," she advises.


7. Don't ever let me catch you doing that again.

This phrase is often uttered out of frustration, and a genuine desire to help kids avoid bad or dangerous habits.

But "kids are sneaky," Morin says — and if you only warn them of the consequences of being caught, they'll simply learn to get better at hiding bad behavior from you.

"They're going to glue the lamp back together the next time it breaks or throw away their paper with a bad grade before you see it," Morin says, adding that if your children are honest with you about their mistakes, you can help them learn and grow.

Instead, Morin suggests saying: "You're going to do this again, and you're going to be tempted to hide it and cover it up. Here's what we could do instead.


Amy Morin is the editor-in-chief of Very well Mind, and hosts The Very well Mind Podcast. Her Ted Talk, The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong, has been viewed more than 22 million times. Check it out here to learn more - TedX, Podcast


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