Brain Doctor Says The Hallmark Of Mental Strength Is Not Doing Things For Disrespectful People — Including Your Kids

Respect is always a two-way street.

Mom high-fiving young daughter Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock

Raising kids is a joyful challenge, an exercise in extreme patience, but mostly, it involves simply trying to get through the day in one piece. Parents want their children to be healthy, happy, and safe. They want their kids to flourish, thrive, and maybe even clean their room without being asked a thousand times.

According to psychiatrist Daniel Amen, there’s a specific way parents should treat their kids so the whole family can succeed.


The brain doctor said the main hallmark of mental strength is not doing things for disrespectful people, including your kids.

Dr. Amen went on Jay Shetty’s podcast to promote his book, “Raising Mentally Strong Kids,” which he co-wrote with Charles Fay.

RELATED: 5 Ways Well-Meaning Parents Create Entitlement In Their Kids Without Realizing It


During the interview, Dr. Amen revealed his tried-and-true parenting technique based on self-respect, dignity, and modeling boundaries.

“I do not do things for people who do not treat me with respect,” Dr. Amen said before explaining how this concept connects to parenting.

“Your child misbehaves; you love them so much, it doesn’t matter; you give them everything they want anyways: Death,” he exclaimed.

“I don’t do nice things for people I feel don’t treat me with respect,” Dr. Amen reiterated.


The psychiatrist shared his perspective on how to raise strong, resilient kids who are ready to take on the world.

Dr. Amen told parents they have to let their kids struggle in order to build mental strength.

“If you want to raise mentally strong kids, you have to let them solve their own problems,” he declared. “The more problems you solve for them, the less competent they become.”


To raising mentally strong kids!

♬ original sound - BrainMD

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While his recommendation seems counterintuitive to the idea of being an involved parent, letting kids figure out the hard stuff on their own is hugely beneficial for their social and emotional development. When kids solve their own problems, they build a sense of self-confidence and learn how capable they can be.

“If you want to raise mentally strong kids, you can’t do too much for them,” Dr. Amen said.

Parents should aim to support their kids in a way that doesn't require them to always be the referee, especially since they won’t always be around to step in and make everything magically better.

A crucial part of growing up is moving through life’s larger challenges, which can sometimes leave us scathed. Yet in doing so, we learn how powerful we truly are. By giving kids an appropriate amount of agency and decision-making power, parents teach them how to take risks in a smart, calculated way that increases their trust in themselves. 


When parents set clearly defined boundaries around how they allow themselves to be treated, they model a level of self-respect, which in turn, shows kids how to have basic human decency.

Dr. Amen revealed the essential words he uses to guide his own parenting: Kind and firm.

“If you just always think about those two words, you’re going to be a good parent,” he said.


My parenting motto in 2 words

♬ original sound - BrainMD

“Kids need boundaries, and they need you to enforce them, but not with anger, not with meanness, not with belittlement — With kindness,” he continued.


Parents can take care of themselves and raise their children into the best versions of themselves by centering respect and kindness as core values.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture and all things to do with the entertainment industry.