11 Things the Parents of Mentally Strong Kids Never Do

11 Things the Parents of Mentally Strong Kids NEVER Do

Excerpted from Raising Mentally Strong Kids, by Daniel Amen, MD, and Charles Fay, PhD

We understand how deeply you care for your child and your desire for them to lead a fulfilling, joyful, and healthy life. It’s important to reflect on our actions as parents, as they can significantly shape our children’s mental strength. After years of working closely with parents and children, we’ve identified some key behaviors that are typically avoided by parents who raise mentally strong kids. We share this with the utmost respect and hope it guides you in your beautiful journey of parenting.

We understand how deeply you care for your child and your desire for them to lead a fulfilling, joyful, and healthy life. It's important to reflect on our actions as parents, as they can significantly shape our children's mental… Click To Tweet


  1. Ignore your child’s brain health.

When you don’t think about brain health, you set your child up for all sorts of potential problems at home, in school, and in relationships. Instead, you must love and care for their brain, which controls everything your child does—how they think, feel, act, and get along with other people.

When their brain works right, they work right. When their brain is troubled, they are going to have trouble. As you and your child are making decisions about any sports they may be involved in, remember to protect their brain if you want them to be happy, healthy, and mentally strong for the rest of their life. 

  1. Setting a poor example.

If your motto is “Do as I say, not as I do,” you are setting yourself up for trouble. If you lie, cheat, are rude or disrespectful, eat an unhealthy diet, and never address your own health, your child is going to follow your example. So, model how you want your child to be.

  1. Forget what it is like to be a child or teen.

If you can’t empathize with your child, you may alienate them, make them feel like they aren’t being understood, or send a message that their feelings aren’t valid.

Remembering what it was like for you when you were your child’s age and all the challenges and struggles you had will give you much more empathy for your child. You’ll end up being more helpful to them than if you approach their life from an adult perspective.

  1. Be overly permissive.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that the children who grow up to have the most psychological problems had permissive parents who never set appropriate boundaries.

  1. Diminish the other parent.

While it can be tempting, it is crucial that you not criticize, put down, or complain about your child’s other parent to your child. This not only undermines the effectiveness of the other parent, but it also decreases your child’s self-esteem.

Your child is a product of both parents, and by saying negative things about the other parent, you are really saying negative things about your child as well.

  1. Rarely spend quality time with them.

Relationships require two things: time and a willingness to listen. If you don’t spend time with them or you have a poor relationship, they are likely to develop resentment and rebel against you.

If you spend quality time and have a good relationship with your child (essential for bonding), they tend to choose and emulate your morals and values. Doing things that your child enjoys and listening to them will make a huge difference in the quality of your relationship.

  1. Be a poor listener.

When you are disagreeing with your child and they are talking, do you interrupt them? Are you focusing on understanding what they are saying, or are you thinking of how you are going to respond to them?

Being a bad listener sends the message that your child isn’t important enough to merit your attention. And this can have devastating effects on their self-esteem.

Learn active listening. Don’t judge or criticize what they are saying, rather repeat back what you hear. Ultimately, your child can solve a lot of their own problems.

  1. Only notice what they do wrong.

Noticing all the little mistakes your child makes infuses them with a negative mind-set and self-view. This can carry over into adulthood and hold them back from reaching their potential.

In addition, if the only time you notice them is when they are doing something wrong, you are teaching them that doing something bad is the best way to get any attention from you.

Instead, do whatever you can to catch them doing things right as often as possible. By doing that, you will reinforce their good behavior and good choices.

  1. Disregard normal behavior.

When you don’t understand normal childhood development or behavioral health, you are likely to expect more from your child, adolescent, or teen than they are ready to handle. This leads to friction, frustration, and a sense of failure.

When you have a basic grasp of development, you are better able to notice when something is inside or outside of the scope of normal. For example, it is normal for teenagers to want to become more independent and to begin to make their own decisions.

Knowing that is a normal part of development makes it easier for you to honor and respect it while still supervising it.

  1. Tell your child they are smart.

If you do this and they end up failing to learn something (which they likely will at some point in their lives), then they will tell themselves that they really aren’t smart and will become more likely to give up.

Instead, point out how hard they work. That way, when something in their life is hard, they will persevere and work harder because their self-esteem comes from hard work, not smarts.

  1. Ignore their mental health issues.

Mental health issues, such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and more can have a devastating impact on your child’s life.

These types of problems can rob them of their mental strength, happiness, self-esteem, motivation, and focus. As their parent, pay attention and take them for an evaluation if you have any concerns.


You will find several more things the parents of mentally strong kids never do in the book Raising Mentally Strong Kids.

In the book, Raising Mentally Strong Kids, brain and mental health expert Dr. Daniel Amen and child psychologist Dr. Charles Fay have teamed up to reveal what’s missing from most parenting books. It’s the fact that you need to address both the brain and the mind of your child (and yourself) in order to be an effective parent and raise competent humans.

In this groundbreaking, science-backed book where neuroscience meets practical psychology, parents are given proven tools to help children of all ages go from defiance, meltdowns, and power struggles to being responsible, resilient, and confident. Order your copy now and put your child on the path to a brighter future.

If you want to join the tens of thousands of parents and children who have already learned how to be mentally stronger at Amen Clinics, speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.  




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