After facing some challenging times in my own life, I became an accredited mental toughness coach. Inspired by my two daughters, I wrote a children’s book with the goal to help develop mental toughness in kids.
My girls were 6 and 9 when I published My Strong Mind in 2017. All scenes in the book were based on little struggles they had to deal with in those primary school years. Now I’m up to the 5th My Strong Mind, and mental toughness is more relevant than it ever was. Just think about what kids had to go through during the pandemic.
My latest book is called My Strong Mind: I Believe in my abilities and stand my ground. It is focused on Confidence. One of the 4 Cs of mental toughness, additional to Commitment, Challenge and Control.
Confidence describes the self-belief a child has in their own skills and abilities. They give things a go, even when they’re not that great at it. They still feel fear when trying something new out of their comfort zone, however they accept fear as an emotion as part of learning and getting better. They understand failing is part of learning and growing, so it’s ok to feel nervous or scared.
Confidence also covers the interpersonal confidence they possess to interact with others. Confident children dare to stand up for themselves and others. They have high levels self-worth, which make them better at not taking things personally. They can let go of things easier that are out of their control, like the behaviour of others. Interestingly enough, research shows that mentally tough children show less anti-social behaviour.
We can be sure our children will have to deal with adversity and need to show confidence during their life. The book covers some great confidence examples like; asking a question in the classroom, talking to adults and look them in the eye, calling out bullying, standing your ground under peer pressure or overcoming negative self-talk.
The ‘catch and change’ technique is great for both kids and adults. Catching a negative thought like I can’t do it, or I’m not smart enough and replace it with a more positive affirmation, is a great way to change your mindset around for the better. Parents and kids can practice it together or have a conversation about it. I still use this simple technique regularly to reframe my inner self-talk. It’s an evolutionary fact that we have more negative than positive thoughts, so better learn to catch them right?
I always say I want our children to thrive, not to simply cope and survive. My mission remains to bring mental toughness to the world. I hope my latest book can contribute a little bit to this and help children around the world build their confidence over time. May mental toughness be with you.