Inner strength is often referred to as resilience and is the ability to cope with and respond to life’s challenges healthily and robustly. Inner strength is born from deep knowing, loving, and accepting self. Some children are born with more inner strength than others and seem to have greater self-awareness, confidence and ability to handle life’s ups and downs.
You may wonder if it is possible to help your child develop greater inner strength? Of course, inner strength is something that a child can cultivate through a loving support structure, education and mindfulness.
The link between Montessori education and Inner Strength
According to its Latin roots, education means to bring forth the potential that lives within a human being. And it is within our potential that lies our most extraordinary power and true inner strength! Have you noticed how powerful, resilient and resourceful you feel when you tap into your full potential?
Maria Montessori, a physician, and educator developed her education model upon this understanding. She spent many hours scientifically observing the natural unfolding of a child’s potential and witnessed the innate ability of the child to develop himself according to natural law. Interestingly, she noticed profound inner strength when a child embodied his whole self without fear, unhindered by adult constraints. In essence, Montessori watched the child’s soul bravely revealing himself to the world and noted,
“it almost seemed as if a road had opened up within their souls that led to all their latent powers, revealing the better part of themselves. They exhibited a great affability to everyone, put themselves out to help others, and seemed full of goodwill.”
Inner strength is a by-product of being the full expression of self; therefore, helping a child know who he is and providing a safe space to reveal himself freely is key to cultivating inner strength. Thankfully, Montessori education offers precisely this so you can relax knowing that this part of your child’s development is mindfully cared for at school. However, there are ways in which you can support this journey through mindful awareness and activities at home.
13 Ways to Help Your Child Build Inner Strength
According to Dr. Shefali, it is essential to remember that “the greatest strength comes from inner connectivity, from an embodiment of the whole spirit, in the moment.” With this in mind, here are some ways to help your child connect more fully with his true nature, express more freely and show up more powerfully and confidently in every moment.
- 1. Be your child’s greatest cheerleader.
According to experts, the most important thing to help a child develop inner strength is positive and nurturing carers. Imagine how you would like to be encouraged on your journey and extend this support, love, and encouragement to your child.
- 2. Provide a loving and stable environment.
This base is vital as it provides a child with a grounded foundation to handle life’s challenges. If this is firmly in place, a child feels held and safe to adventure and explore life wholeheartedly, with courage, as there is always a loving space to retreat.
- 3. Implement boundaries and positive discipline.
Boundaries support a child to feel safe. Knowing what acceptable and unacceptable behavior is, helps a child to navigate the world with confidence. Layout clear boundaries for your child and implement positive discipline, a consequence for when your child steps over the line. For example, ‘Johnny, please remember that we speak with respect and kindness at home. The next time you shout at your sister, you will need to stop playing and go to your room to think about your behavior.’ Please follow through with the consequence!
- 4. Encourage your child to be independent.
A child is constantly seeking ways to become more independent. Montessori says, “the greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” Give your child the opportunity to learn new skills to feel accomplished and confident in his abilities.
- 5. Allow your child to make mistakes.
This experience is hugely important. Our most significant learnings take place as a result of our mistakes. Mistakes give your child the opportunity to develop strategies to overcome failure. Mistakes are fertile soil for learning about oneself and growing strengths to overcome life’s challenges.
- 6. Enrol your child in a yoga class.
Yoga cultivates inner peace, harmony, acceptance of self and builds confidence so that a child can show up fully expressed in the world. Although yoga may seem like just another sport, there is much more going on, and it is helping your child access his fullest potential, awareness, and energy.
- 7. Meditate with your child.
Meditation is the foundation on which we come to know ourselves. Meditation helps a child develop inner wisdom, self-confidence, energy, and strength and produces a general sense of well-being. A calm, confident and self-assured child is a strong child, full of inner strength and resources.
- 8. Reflect on your child’s natural strengths.
Notice your child’s unique and positive qualities and share these with him. If you see your child doing something beautiful in the day, reflect this to him in a way that reminds him and brings awareness to his unique gifts. For example, ‘Ben, I loved how you helped your sister today. I admire your gentle and caring nature. Thank you for being so loving and making the world a beautiful place.’ Activity idea: draw a character strengths tree on your child’s wall together.
- 9. Reflect on your child’s peak experiences.
Please remind your child of the times when they did well. Share these memories with pride for how your child showed up in these moments. Activity idea: create a strengths storybook together, depicting these successful moments. This positive reinforcement helps your child anchor positive experiences into his psyche and draw on these strengths in the future.
- 10. Expose your child to a variety of activities.
Provide your child with the opportunity to explore different hobbies and see which ones light a spark. This experience will give your child great insight into his natural gifts and help him know himself more deeply. He will become aware of his likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, talents, and challenges and learn to accept and align with what brings him joy and makes him feel aligned and confident.
- 11. Listen more deeply to their stories.
When you listen intently and mindfully to your child’s stories, your child will feel deeply cared for and valued. You will more easily pick up on the positive aspects of how your child handled his day, be able to reflect and acknowledge these and offer some guidance for future challenges.
- 12. Watch your child play.
Observe your child’s play without interfering. This observation will give you great insight into their unique way of being, thinking, expressing, and processing life. Through play, you can connect with your child and role-play how to handle situations with inner strength.
- 13. Reflect on the poem ‘See Me Beautiful.’
See me beautiful
Look for the best in me
It’s what I really am
And all I want to be
It may take some time
It may be hard to find
But see me beautiful
Each and every day
Could you take a chance
Could you find a way
To see me shining through
In everything I do
And see me beautiful – Red and Kathy Grammer
In conclusion, children with greater inner strength tend to grow into healthier, happier, more self-assured, confident, loving, lovable, and optimistic adults. They are less swayed by their peers, more easily stick to their morals, and have a more significant positive influence in the world.
The most important thing to remember is that children need to feel valued, loved, and safe, and from this place, their true self, the home of the most extraordinary power and inner strength can shine.