7 Tips for Raising Spartan Kids

move free

Image is credited to me but the article is NOT.

The entire article and photos can be found at this link:  


Now here is the part I wanted to save: 

1.  Make sure your children know they are loved unconditionally. 

This is the easiest one of all.  While there always exceptions, the literature repeatedly states that children who have at least one (preferably more) unconditionally supportive parent or parent substitute are more likely to be competent at confronting adversity.  That supportive foundation can provide them with the confidence to go into any battle knowing that even if they fail they are still loved. 

2.  Let your children fail. 

Easier said than done, right?  It’s painful to watch your little one suffer emotional pain of mistakes or failures, but it is absolutely necessary.  There are way too many stories like the one at the beginning of this article of very bright and/or talented kids who break down at the mere thought of failure.  The corollary principle here is to not shelter them from challenging situations, which provide opportunities to develop coping skills for when things go wrong later in life.  Failure at 8 years old is usually much less consequential than failure at 38 years old.  Let them learn how to fail when the stakes are low.

3.  Teach them that a problem in life is just a problem and not a permanent barrier.

This is where the “obstacle racing as life” metaphor comes into play.  A child, teenager, or young adult who can visualize problems as nothing more than a wall to climb over is more likely to confront the problem and keep moving toward success.  One of the great things about the Spartan Kids race is that it provides us a very vivid example to remind our children how they confronted obstacles in that race and overcame them.

4.  When your children present you with their problems, present them with ways to overcome.

Many times it is easier as a parent if we just solve the problem for them – if we just pick up the phone and call the teacher to explain why the homework assignment was not completed.  However, it is more powerful for our children to realize that there are things that THEY can do to solve their own problems.  The realization that they control their fate by the choices they make will keep them on a path to self-reliance.

5.  Teach optimism

“Look on the bright side” is not just a cliché’ that we should repeat absentmindedly.  A mental outlook that focuses on positive aspects of situations and that always contains a hope for a better future is a major factor in resiliency.  When the mind is fueled by positivity it is significantly more powerful and can withstand setbacks than if it is filled with gloom and doom.  Likewise, teaching a mindset to our children that challenges just make them stronger makes it easier for them to mentally attack a problem versus avoiding difficulty at all costs.

6.  Be the model

Yikes!  For better or worse our children look to us for guidance in life.  Modeling the ability to experience problems, yet keep moving forward without whining or complaining is crucial; so too is showing them that success does not happen overnight.  Sometimes we have bad races, but that does not signal absolute failure, nor put an end to the hard work or commitment to training.  It just means that we train harder or smarter for the next one.  Day in and day out our children need to know that high levels of sustained effort are necessary to succeed.  We have to be optimistic and prove to them that even though life is often difficult, we are powerful beings who have the inner strength to overcome the problems.  The pressure is on us.  Remember, little eyes are watching.

7. Spartan Up

When the going gets tough, Spartan Up!

Special thanks to Spartan Racer parents, Dan & Gretchen Krueger and Leslie & Tom St. Louis, who took the time to discuss with me their thoughts on raising Spartan kids.  I certainly don’t have all the answers and look to so many of my obstacle racing friends for insight into the things that are doing to raise their own Spartan kids.


NCH: The Bridge Child Care Development Service.  Literature Review: Resilience in Children and Young People. 2007.

Osborn, Albert F. 1. Resilient children: A longitudinal study of high achieving socially disadvantaged children. Early Child Development and Care. 1990; 62(1): 23-47.

Seligman, Martin EP. What business can learn from a pioneering army program for fostering post-traumatic growth.Harvard Business Review. 2007; April: 100-107.


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