Here's my article as published in lifehack.org (http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/11-things-mentally-strong-parents-dont.html)
Mentally strong parents are the most crucial ingredient in raising mentally strong children who have the courage to explore their passions, the ability to lead fulfilling lives and the values to be an exemplary member of the society. By ensuring that you know the do’s and don’ts of parenting with mental strength, you can raise your child to be a bolder, more prepared citizen of our world. So watch out, here are the11 things mentally strong parents don’t do.
1. They don’t preach
Mentally strong parents recognize that facilitating their child’s development by being a good friend to their kids works better most of the time than commanding and forbidding the child to behave in a certain way. They know that there’s a stark difference between simply lecturing/yelling and suggesting opinions to their children like a friend would.
2. They don’t jump to the same impatient conclusion about their children like everyone else
Most of the time, a child’s problems, behaviours, and attitudes seem difficult to control and on a downward spiral because the child can’t find a trustworthy, willing listener to confide in. Naturally, children are born with a trust in parents who nurse them in their very first days and so by default, children more readily confide in parents if they are patient listeners. When kids are unwilling to share their issues with their parents, it is usually because they have been judged or their previous problems have been incompletely and incorrectly understood when they last tried to express themselves. Mentally strong parents take the extra effort to always ensure that they are lending their full attention to listen and to understand their children from an unbiased perspective. They know that when their child is in a mess, it is because he/she has been misunderstood at some point. Great parents are sympathetic; even when they know their child is wrong, they respond to the issue with patience, understanding, and adopt a positive method to help their child overcome the obstacle.
3. They are not adamant about living their own ambitions through their children
My parents have always dreamed that I would become a medical doctor and thus fulfill the ambitions of their own youth. Two years ago, when I told them that I didn’t want to study medicine, they were first shocked, and then saddened. But they quickly moved on after accepting that though I was their dear daughter, I am a different individual from what they are, and that I have different aspirations that ought to be respected and supported.
This is one of the hallmarks of mentally hardy parents. They recognize that their young ones are different individuals and do not push their own dreams on their children. Rather, they encourage their kids to reach their full potential in the fields about which their kids are personally passionate.
4. They don’t forget that ‘unconditional positive regard’ is the best way to parent
According to psychologist Carl Rogers, Unconditional positive regard is the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does. Unconditional parenting with resilient positive regard is the best means to raise a child with self-esteem, while still instilling the values that you want instilled.
Unconditional parenting can be seen as parenting your children for what they are, not what they do. Even when their child does something unacceptable, mentally strong parents do not turn to negative means of disciplining their child. Rather, they remember who their children really are inside, and positively respond to the situation by offering to listen and showing that they still love their children. Ultimately, the strongest parents are aware that nothing beats the power of being unconditionally loved and positively reinforced regardless of one’s actions. Though it might be challenging to be shower unconditional love all the time, In the long run, they know that positive reinforcement will make their children the best individuals they can become.
5. they don’t force their decisions and viewpoints on their children
Instead, great parents let their children decide for themselves most of the time. Even in the most crucial times, mentally strong parents allow their children the liberty of thinking and speaking out for themselves, because they know that this autonomy to be their own person will tremendously boost the growth of their child’s personality as a confident, independent thinker.
6. They don’t claim to know everything
The wisest parents know that their children have novel, incredible ideas and interesting lives that can teach fascinating lessons which no book or institution possibly can. These parents recognize that learning from children is a fun, rewarding process and that there is much more in life that has to be learnt. Because they are willing to learn, they are also strong enough to let their children know that they don’t know everything.
7. They don’t plan out their children’s entire lives in a neat map
Mentally strong parents let much of their children’s life to be shaped as time passes and things change. Besides saving up for basic essentials like education and medical insurance, they let their children earn for and carve their own adult lives from scratch. They leave their children just enough wealth to start off, but not enough to comfortably live their entire lives with their parent’s neat maps and money. Mentally sturdy parents let their kids build their own lives out of their own hard work and character.
8. They never, ever physically abuse their children
A mentally strong parent is smart enough to know what does the worst job of disciplining their kids: physical harassment. They don’t slap or hit or interact with negative physical contact. Instead, they look out for when their kid is doing a good job, and they reward this desirable behavior and appreciate their kids for what they specifically did well.
9. They don’t measure their kids’ success by the same measure as the rest of the world
Awesome parents know that their child is worth much more than the popular measures of success such as fame, money and an esteemed job title. They don’t raise their children for these superficial goals, but rather raise them in a way that prepares them to meet the challenges of life with a head held high, to live life optimistically, to view happiness as a journey, to find satisfaction in doing what they love and to seek meaning in themselves. Mentally strong parents look deeper into their child than the world does and encourage their kid to find success in his/her own terms, rather than in the terms of the world.
10. They don’t suppress a rebellious child
Mentally tough parents don’t rebel against a rebellious child. Instead they are ready to view things from their child’s different perspective. They accept their child for who he/she is and never compare their child with someone else. Ultimately, the strongest parents forgive their children and embrace the uniquely extraordinary strengths of their own child’s character.
11. They don’t expect their child to learn from values that they don’t already represent
The most amazing parents teach their children by example. They understand that they cannot possibly instil values of honesty in their child when they are liars themselves or teach humility if they are pompous braggers pampering their kids. Mentally tough parents are ready to change themselves so that they become positive examples for their child’s growth.