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Five Ways to Give your Kids Guts


John Cryan, a pharmacologist at University College Cork, Ireland did an experiment with mice.  This rodent, when placed in an inescapable tank of water, will give up swimming in about 5 minutes when it realizes it can’t get out.  But if this same mouse has probiotics in its guts before being placed in the tank, it will nevergive up trying to get out until all its physical energy has been sapped.  It will keep going and going and going.

Why is this?  Well, mice dosed with probiotics showed significant differences in brain chemistry compared to the control rodents.  The bacteria-fed mice had about half as much corticosterone, a stress hormone, in their blood and a redistribution of their brain receptors for a key neurotransmitter.  In other words, they got more mentally tough.  They got guts by what was in their guts.

Now, whether giving your children more probiotics will help them better plough through difficult circumstances or not remains to be seen, but there are some tried and true methods to help your kids stand up and stand out when the going gets tough.  Here are 5 ways to give your kids guts to stand up to pressure.

1.    Lead by example.
Kids are always watching Mom and Dad. If you’re courageous in your life, then your children will see that and will want to follow your lead.

2.    Believe in them.
If you believe in your children and let them know they have what it takes to be courageous, then they will believe it too. This will push them to try things they might not have considered.

3.    Challenge them to be more courageous in their choices.
Challenging your children to have more guts will motivate them. This is an opportunity for them to show that they can do what they’re asked. They also know that by being challenged, their parents are watching their actions and waiting to see them flourish in the face of adversity.

4.    Let them know that it is okay to fail.
Failure is just a chance to learn and improve. Once your children know that it is okay for them to fail, they won’t be as embarrassed to talk to you when they miss an opportunity to be courageous.

5.    Praise your child whenever they show guts.
This is the best way for your children to know that they are doing the right thing. By giving them praise, they know that their actions aren’t going unnoticed by you and that their bravery is paying off.