Ep 25: Mental Strength for Teens
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Amy Morin, bestselling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, an expert on how to teach grit and emotional strength, discusses lessons she learned from her years as a foster parent to dozens of children and as a psychologist who helps families through difficult transitions.
Full Show Notes
There is a lot of talk these days about the importance of qualities like grit, perseverance, mental toughness, and the like. But I’ve noticed that it’s hard to find practical advice on how to actually instill these qualities in a teenager.
To get some answers, this week we tracked down one of the world’s leading experts on mental strength. Amy Morin is the author of the international bestseller 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. Her TED talk, with over 7 Million views, is one of the 30 most popular talks of all time.
She knows what she’s talking about.
Amy’s new book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, addresses one of the top questions people asked about her first book: how do you instill mental strength in kids?
We caught up with Amy for an hour in between talks at Google and Apple and she got candid about her experiences raising foster children, told some stories that didn’t make it into the book, and revealed some truly powerful strategies for helping teens build more mental strength.
That’s the subject of this week’s episode.
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Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen
1. When your teen wants to break the rules, affirm their autonomy but hold firm:
“Sure, you can use your phone whenever you want. As soon as your room is clean, like we agreed. You’re 14 now so I can’t physically force you to do anything but those are the rules. As an adult I don’t have to go to work. But if I don’t, there will be consequences. So I’m going to treat you like an adult and leave the final decision up to you.”
2. When your teen is worrying about something they have to do:
3. Get your teen thinking about social media on a deeper level:
4. If you find yourself in a power struggle with a teenager, take responsibility for the argument yourself rather than blaming the teen:
Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview
1. Make Your Own Coping Strategies Obvious:
One of the most important things you can teach your teenager is how to manage and regulate their emotions. And Amy told me that the first place parents should look is in making your own coping strategies more clear and obvious so your teen can see you using them. What do you do when you feel anxious or afraid? Do you take slow deep breaths? Close your eyes? Think about a happy memory? Take a few moments and jot down all the strategies you can think of that you use to deal with intense emotions. Next, for each strategy, write down how you could make this more obvious when you use it. For instance, you could say, “give me a minute to take a few deeps breaths and calm down,” or, “hold on, I’m getting frustrated, let me find a happy memory.” This way you model healthy emotional coping for your teen. Any says modeling is even more important than what you tell your teen.
2. Model How to Handle Screwing Something Up:
About Amy Morin
As a psychotherapist turned author, Amy’s mission is to make the world a stronger place. Her education and expertise as a psychotherapist, combined with her personal experiences overcoming tragedy, give her a unique perspective on mental strength.
In 2013, Amy introduced the world to the concept of mental strength when her article, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, became an anthem read by more than 50 million people.
She’s been dubbed the “self-help guru of the moment,” by The Guardian and Forbes refers to her as a “thought leadership star.” Her advice has been featured by numerous media outlets including Time, Fast Company, Success, Business Insider, Oprah.com, Fox News, CNN, CNBC, and Today. She also appears in a Red Bull TV show called Visions of Greatness.
She lectures across the globe to provide trainings, workshops, and keynote speeches that teach people how to build their mental muscle. Students from 42 countries access her online mental strength course.
Amy’s also a lecturer at Northeastern University. She is a columnist for Forbes, Inc., and Psychology Today. She also serves as a parenting expert for Verywell.
Fast facts about Amy:
- Her international best-selling book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, is being translated into 30 languages.
- With over 7 millions views, her TEDx talk, The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong, is one of the top 30 most popular talks of all time.
- Amy’s articles on mental strength reach 2 million readers every month.
- Her newest book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do: Raising Self-Assured Children and Training Their Brains for a Life of Happiness, Meaning, and Success, teaches adults how to become mental strength coaches for children.