How to Teach Children Fortitude

In the times we have come to live in, children are overloaded, overstimulated, and stressed. Adults frequently admonish their children „Calm down!”, „Get a grip!”, but they fail to show them how to quiet the mind, calm down the body, and deal with emotions in a tranquil and constructive way.

Studies carried out on American children have demonstrated that school grades, school itself, and homework constitute three principal sources of stress. Problems at home rank fourth. Therefore, school is the main source of stress in children.

What can be done to make studying and going to school a joyful and creative process, one brimming with academic success and giving them a sense of belonging to the environment they live in together with a sense of self-satisfaction?

The latest programs helping children to build fortitude and improve self-control focus on the deepening of the understanding of mental processes and teach positive social skills – empathy, compassion, patience, and generosity. Children learn about relations between the body and the mind, at the same time developing awareness of their own impulses, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. They discover the workings of the brain and find out how to moderate their emotions. They learn how to make choices which contribute to their increased sense of worth and confidence.

Thanks to the discovery of neuroplasticity of the brain, we know that our everyday experiences mold the brain changing its physical structure. Dr Daniel J. Siegel – a Harvard graduate, psychiatrist and neuropsychologist of world renown – claims that „Parents are the active sculptors of their children’s growing brains. The immature brain of the child is so sensitive to social experience that adoptive parents should in fact also be called the biological parents because the family experiences they create shape the biological structure of their child’s brain”.

Regardless of children’s innate inclinations and temperament, parents play the most significant role in creating experiences helping their children develop a fortuitous integrated mind.

Children whom parents teach how to calm down when stressed or upset have stronger brain neuronal circuits related to stress management.

It is of utmost importance to regularly dedicate time to teaching children how to cope with emotions, calm both the body and the mind, and cultivate the ability to focus attention. It is best to first try and practice certain skills yourself to experience advantages resulting from the ability to relax and – this way – encourage and help your child develop the sense of being grounded in a given practice.

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