To Be Mentally Strong, Children Need a Healthy Brain

To Be Mentally Strong, Children Need a Healthy Brain

To Be Mentally Strong, Children Need a Healthy Brain

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

If you want your child to be mentally strong, it starts with helping them have a healthy brain. And brain health is important for you too, because parenting requires mental strength.

Brains run schools, families, friendships, businesses, churches—and you. Yet most people rarely think about their brains, least of all their children’s brains. Yet mental strength starts with a healthy brain.

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It’s so important to know about the brain, love it, and maybe even become a bit obsessed with it—especially for your kids’ sake. And it’s equally critical to teach your children at an early age to love and care for their own brains.

It will make parenting so much easier while setting them up for the mental fortitude that will help them succeed in every area of life! And remember, although it’s better to start early, it’s never too late to teach your child, adolescent, or young adult about brain health.


Let’s take a deeper look at the supercomputer inside your head. The human brain typically weighs about 3 pounds and is the consistency of soft butter, tofu, or custard, and it is housed in a hard skull that has sharp bony ridges.

It’s no surprise that the brain can be damaged from repeatedly heading soccer balls or from being pounded by helmet-to-helmet tackles in football!

The brain is a symphony of parts that work together to create and sustain a life. It is the organ responsible for learning, loving, creating, and behaving. And it is the most complex and amazing organ in the universe.


To help you and your child develop strong brains, here are some key principles you need to know.

  1. Develop a love affair with your brain.

You need to love the 3-pound mass between your ears because your brain controls how you think, act, feel, and manage those difficult situations that leave you wanting to lecture, threaten, scream, or use some other ineffective parenting strategy.

Obviously, the brain helps you remain thoughtful rather than reactive, one of the hallmarks of great parenting.

When you fall in love with your brain, you start taking better care of it. You feed it, exercise it, and rest it.

Your brain also helps you consistently demonstrate firmness and kindness. Decades of research shows this combination of firmness and kindness to be one of the primary factors differentiating successful from unsuccessful parents.

  1. Teach your child to love and protect their brain.

 As you may already know, modeling is one of the most powerful ways of teaching your kids. As they see you falling head over heels in love with your brain, this will help them want a similar love affair.

They will be responsive to learning that the brain is soft; the skull is hard and has multiple sharp ridges. When the head experiences any form of impact, the brain ricochets inside this hard and sharp casing.

In brain scans, I have seen children as young as 8 suffering from serious head injuries from playing football for only one season. You read that right: brain damage at 8 years old!

In fact, I recently worked with a patient who had been an all-American soccer player in high school and college. Even though she never had a concussion, her brain was not healthy—and hadn’t been for years. The brain trauma she endured and never knew about made every aspect of her life as a parent, a wife, an employee, and a friend harder.

  1. Educate your child about how to care for their brain.

It’s not hard. I started teaching my daughter Chloe when she was 2 years old how to make choices to care for her brain. Show by example how to avoid anything that hurts the brain, such as:

  • Trauma
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Eating the Standard American Diet (SAD)

In addition, show them how to do things that help the brain, such as:

  • Eating right
  • Exercising
  • Getting great sleep
  • Learning new things
  • Resisting inaccurate and negative thinking
  • Avoiding overexposure to screens
  • Taking high-quality supplements


You will find several more helpful brain principles for parents and children 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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