• How to Raise a Mentally Tough Daughter by J. Moye

How to Raise a Mentally Tough Daughter by J. Moye

My parents did the exact opposite as what is taught in the article below.

It’s much more difficult to learn the sorts of things this article is talking about later in life and to put them into practice. My life would’ve been ten times easier had my parents taught me, when I was a kid, to have the skills mentioned in the article I am linking you to below.

My mother, for one, valued “sweetness” in me more than any other quality, and she unfortunately confused “sweetness” with codependency – which meant, I was encouraged to do things such as be passive, to give in and give up easily, rather than be tough, keep on even when things got difficult, or stand up for myself when bullied or treated unfairly.

My dad, with his quickness to shame or mock if I made a mistake at anything, turned me into a perfectionist. My father’s manner of parenting turned me into someone who gave up easily if I was not doing well at an activity, and his method of parenting conveyed to me to not even try new things in the first place, really – after all, trying something new may mean I might fail at it, and in my family, failing is shameful.

(My father, though, would probably not recognize his parenting as such – but that is what it was like for me growing up. I think my dad thinks of himself as a very positive person, but as far back as I can remember, he was always very negative, cranky, and hyper-critical of me and of everyone and everything else. He frames everything in negative terms and worst-case scenarios.)

It’s as though my parents took all the qualities and skills therapists say parents should instill into a daughter to turn her into a confident, resilient, independent adult, and did the exact opposite – much to my detriment.

How to Raise a Mentally Tough Daughter by J. Moye

The definition of mental toughness varies among researchers and academics, but we all know it when we see it on the soccer field.

It’s the kid who bounces back faster from disappointment, who takes constructive criticism well, and who can pick herself up and dust herself off no matter how hard she falls.

What doesn’t vary among researchers is the fact that possessing mental toughness is a predicator of success in not only sports, but also in school and at work.

And it’s something that can be trained. “All of us, with proper knowledge, investment, feedback, and systematic training can become mentally tougher,” says Colleen M. Hacker, Ph.D., a mental skills coach and performance psychology specialist.

Unfortunately, mental toughness is something that we’re better at teaching our boys than our girls. “The only time people experience mental toughness is in difficulty, adversity, or setback,” says Hacker, who is also co-author of Catch Them Being Good: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Coach Girls..
“Research shows we treat sons and daughters differently in that regard, and advantage our sons [in amassing mental toughness] as a result.”

The first step, then, to stoking your daughter’s mental toughness may be to change your perception — to view her disappointments on (and off) the field as an opportunity.

“A kid who is getting good grades and winning all the games and doing all her chores and getting along with all her friends doesn’t require mental toughness,” says Hacker.

Building mental toughness begins with the opportunity to flex that muscle, so to speak. 

Once you’ve identified an opportunity, what Hacker calls a Mental Toughness Moment, it’s important to understand that your child is most likely going to have an emotional reaction to the situation, and that’s okay. “There’s a universal reaction to difficulty, to adversity,” says Hacker. “No one likes it. No one likes to lose.”

The problem is that an emotional reaction doesn’t offer insightful information, or hints for positive action.

So, Hacker coaches her athletes to move quickly past the emotional-oriented thinking of This doesn’t feel good, to the task-oriented thinking of Okay, what’s my response going to be?

Hacker uses three P’s to help gauge an appropriate response: Is this productive, purposeful, and in keeping with the present moment? If your daughter responds to losing the game by saying “I’m terrible, we always lose,” you can help reframe it by ticking off the three P’s. Her statement is neither productive nor purposeful.

Nor does it stick to the present tense (it’s projecting the current state of loss to all future games). Instead, ask her to name three things she did well that game, and then three things she can work on.

“It’s a process that moves people, mentally, from the initial knee-jerk reaction to being in control again,” says Hacker.

Read the rest here.

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