How To Raise Emotionally Strong Kids

“There are two things we should give our kids – one is Roots, and the other is Wings.”

We are moving back to Canada.

First of all, yes, I haven’t written anything here in 10 months. I have been really contemplating if I wanted to do a blog or a vlog. I have also been having way too much fun in Costa Rica, so didn’t do this. But, I am gonna start building my blog again. So thank you so much for your patience guys.

I wanna talk about my little BP (Baby Panda) today and what a proud mama I am.  ​

When I picked him from school on Monday, they told us school is closed until April 13. He was excited and sad that he won’t see his friends for a month.  While here I was waiting to share the news that we might be going back to Canada.

My mistake – without realizing that he just found out his school is closed, I told him in the car that we might be going back. . Suddenly, I saw his face and I knew I made a mistake. I could see the tears coming at any moment.

As I drive on the highway looking in the rear view mirror asking him if he was ok, he started sobbing. Now, let me say this that we are talking about a very tough kid or may be he just puts on a show.

I pulled over as fast as I could and asked him to come to the front.  I held him tight as he cried in my arms. I felt like the worst mom ever, but I held myself together without breaking down.  I let him cry until he calmed down and then we talked about it. He was sad because he didn’t get to say goodbye to his friends in school.

​We decided that he can do video call with his friends to let them know. Unfortunately with social isolation, he can’t really go and meet them.

Sometimes I question my decision of moving to Costa Rica. Are we putting too much pressure on him? But then I see all the experiences that he’s getting.

It’s okay for the kids to be emotional and cry, but it’s not okay for us parents to over protect them. Tell them that their emotions are valid and that Mama also gets emotional sometimes and cries.
And it’s totally okay.

I explained to him the whole situation with Corona Virus and how we should be with Daddy. I always treat him like an adult and explain him the reasoning behind all our decisions.  I also told him that it’s not a final decision yet and he does have a say in it. We did take two more days to make the final decision and we did ask him his opinion.  Once he had all the facts, he said that he wants to go back to Canada and be with Daddy.  In fact, next day when we said that may be we should stay, he wanted to go back to Canada.

I am so so proud of him. Sometimes I call him the emotionless robot, but at times like this I realize that he is actually emotionally very strong. Emotionally strong doesn’t mean that he doesn’t cry, but it means that he is ready to bounce back and keep going even when the times are tough. He might have hundreds of doubts in his mind, but he is able to push them aside and do what needs to be done.

I’m happy that he is comfortable showing his emotions and talk about them. But at the same time, he is able to push past his comfort zone and do something new in life. ​

Well, this made me actually do some research on raising emotionally strong kids, and here are some tips I found that I have used with my son: 

  1. They are not the Centre of the Universe. Kids should realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. In our attempt to keep our kids happy, we sometimes tend to rush to fulfill their every demand. We are like on duty soldiers ready to take orders from them. It is important for kids to know that in the real world, they have to work to get the things they want. So, teach them young. Make them do chores at home, and sometimes let them wait for things. Instant gratification is ruining lots of lives, so let’s not reinforce that behaviour in our kids. 
  2. Take them out of the Protective Bubble. You can not save your kids from being hurt unless you raise them in a bubble. So instead of trying to keep them safe, encourage them to face their fears. Stop saying things like, “Don’t climb there”, “Don’t touch that”, “Don’t jump from there”. Let them take risks while you are watching and making sure they are not in grave danger.  A child who gets hurt once in a while learns that taking risks and failing is the best learning experience.  Kiss their booboos (be there for them), but do not teach them to avoid booboos. 
  3. Teach Emotion Regulation. One day, those kids are gonna go out into the real world and they will have to face heartbreak and disappointment. It is a part of life, and the sooner they learn to regulate their emotions, better chances of them growing up to be emotionally stable adults. Parents, it is not your job to regulate their emotions; instead teach them how to regulate their emotions. So don’t try to calm them down when they are angry or don’t try to make them happy when they are sad. Instead, talk to them and help them understand their feelings. Tell them that mama also gets sad sometimes, and it is ok to be sad.  And moms, please get over that guilt – your kids will be hurt in this world, and you can’t blame yourself for everything.  Yes, we moms can control a lot, but not everything in the world… LOL
  4. Teach them Healthy Self-Talk. The best way you can do this is by practicing positive self-talk for yourself first. Kids can’t be emotionally strong if they are always putting themselves down. Teach your kids to say daily affirmations and to flip the script on their negative thoughts. So, if they think they are bad at math, tell them that they are improving everyday and they need to keep practicing. This tells them that being bad at math is not a constant and it is something they can change by practicing.  Here is a great resource for positive affirmations for kids
  5. Teach them the Attitude of Gratitude. Make gratitude a consistent practice at home. Neil and I say our Thank Yous every night.  We find 3 best things in our day, and say Thank you for that. It teaches kids to acknowledge all that is good in their life, so that even on their worst days, they can be thankful and appreciative of what they have. The attitude of gratitude will keep the kids grounded and teach them to look at life as glass full. 

Let’s not try to over protect our kids. As I said, kiss their booboos, but don’t teach them to avoid booboos all together. 

Love and Sunshine,

How To Raise Emotionally Strong Kids