Although parenting can be filled with joy, raising children also stirs up uncomfortable emotions, like guilt and anxiety. Your parenting role may stir up uncomfortable thoughts too--like self-doubt, harsh criticism, and catastrophic worry.

Some parents let the uncomfortable emotions and critical inner monologue dictate their choices. They may give in when they feel guilty or restrict their children's activities because they can't handle feeling anxious.

But mentally strong parents don't let uncomfortable emotions or negative thoughts impair their decisions. Instead, they work hard to help their kids reach their greatest potential.

Here are seven things mentally strong parents know:

1. You have to show kids how to be strong.

Telling your kids to "act brave" or "look on the bright side" won't work if you don't role model the appropriate skills. You have to be comfortable with your own emotions if you want to teach kids about feelings.

2. Kids gain confidence from first-hand experience.

Calming your child down or cheering her up is easy. But kids need to learn to do those things for themselves. And they need to practice their skills over and over again throughout the years.

3. Mistakes can be life's greatest teacher.

Rushing in to prevent your child from making mistakes spares them heartache--at least in the moment. But kids need to learn how to fail so they can discover how to bounce back. Mentally strong parents let kids face natural consequences and they guide them in learning to do better next time when they mess up.

4. Validating kids' emotions is key to self-awareness.

You won't hear a mentally strong parent say, "Don't be scared." They're more likely to say, "I know it feels scary but I am confident you can do it." They acknowledge that whatever a child feels is OK and they teach kids how their emotions affect their decisions.

5. Pain And Struggle Aren't All Bad.

It's tempting to shield kids from pain. But emotional pain and struggles teach valuable life lessons. Mentally strong parents support kids in gaining strength from their struggles.

6. Parenting decisions are easier when you know your values.

Whether it's a small choice, like letting a 7-year-old go to a birthday party, or it's a big choice--like letting your child go on a first date, knowing your values is key to making the best decisions. Mentally strong parents aren't easily swayed by the media or other parents in the neighborhood. They are firm in their beliefs and act according to their values.

7. Discipline isn't the same as punishment.

Punishment is about making kids suffer for their mistakes. Discipline is about teaching them to make better choices in the future. While they still hand out consequences for broken rules, mentally strong parents are invested in teaching kids how to do better next time.

Build Your Mental Muscle

All parents can build their mental muscles--and help their kids build mental strength. Make it a priority to practice regulating your thoughts, managing your emotions, and taking positive action. As you build mental strength, you'll also be helping your kids become the best versions of themselves.

Published on: Sep 6, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.