One of the things that I have noticed a lot since my daughter started school is how some children just seem so much braver than others. But what does it take to raise a brave child?
I know there are a lot of influencing factors which determine whether a child is brave or not – things like their natural temperament, how they have been conditioned by society and so on.
I have also written before about how I want to raise a brave child. With that said, today I wanted to follow up that post on how exactly you go about raising a brave child – if that’s what you’d like to do!
I have gathered some brilliant insights and tips on raising a brave child in case you might not be blessed with a naturally brave child. Sometimes children need a little encouragement along the way…..
Teach feedback, not failure
Tammy Biton, Transformational Coach and mother of three kids, stresses that in order to raise a brave child, it is important to set them up with solid beliefs around failure by instilling there is no failure, only feedback.
She recounts the moment when her eldest son (he was about eight at the time) went to his first martial arts tournament. “At the beginning of the tournament during the welcome speech, the Director addressed all of the competitors and part of his address, he said… “there is no losing today. You win, or you learn. That is all”.
In order for kids to be brave, they need to feel safe. They need to feel secure. And they need to feel comfortable in making mistakes.
The best way to teach your kids to be brave, is to demonstrate that skill yourself. Let them know when you feel nervous about doing something new or different and them show them that you can do it. Kids listen more to what we do than what we say.”
Share stories about bravery
Tammy also recommends telling them stories – kids love metaphors! Exploring how characters demonstrate bravery and opening discussions. I recently bought a copy of Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls and read it with my daughter every night – I would definitely recommend it, and for boys there is now Rebel Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different.
Practice micro bravery
Another great tip from Tammy is to encourage kids to take a small step outside of their comfort zone each day. She suggests setting up a 21 day challenge with them where they will do one brave thing each day – you might even want to set these up with them in advance.
“Make sure that they are easily achievable and praise them each day for their bravery (even if it doesn’t seem to you like it would take any bravery, it might be HUGE to them). Maybe its reading a new book, saying hi to a new person in their school, trying something new, maybe its sharing a story, their feelings or talking about something difficult.
It doesn’t have to be anything new – in fact, if you can find ways in which they already display courage and point that out, it builds bravery into their already existing identity.”
Feel the fear…and talk about it!
Busy mum of two and founder of Mudputty.com Raeleen Kaesehagen recommends sharing with the children why we have fear and how it works to empower. Understanding fear in her experience has led to very brave, independent children.
She says: “I’ve always explained to my children that fear is there to keep us safe. So if our body reacts to something in fear, it is saying it does not know if that is safe or not.
Rather than say ‘don’t be silly, it’s fine’, I’d explore with them what it is that is fearful (dog, spider etc) and then we’d work out if it was something to be fearful of (eg what type of spider is it, does that hurt us).
By doing this I’ve found the children become very confident with themselves, they recognize when they are fearful and work out what they want to do next and have become very brave individuals.”
Hear your child
Cognitive Behavioural Therapist Leann Middlemass highlights that one of the worst things we can do as parents is to dismiss our children feelings. “Although how they react may seem frivolous to you when their feelings are not acknowledged they will inevitably feel is is not okay to feel a certain way.
This can leave to lack of confidence. When a grown up gets something new wrong they are reluctant to share, yet kids are made to share their things even when they do not ant to. The messages we send can have the opposite affect. Instead of teaching them to be fair and share its possible for a child to resent sharing for life.
When a child is heard they believe that what they say matters. This will allow them to bring their issues to you and will seek solutions to problems.
Another thing to do with a child to build confidence is encouragement. After all when they first learnt to walk as a parent you never scolded them. Encouragement is the way to go as not all children learn in the same way. “
So there you have it. Some really golden tips for raising a brave child. I have already been incorporating some of the tips into our own daughter’s day and have to say I have really seen such a difference in her outlook since doing so. It’s beautiful to see how brave she is becoming!
Do you try to incorporate any of the above into your parenting? Do leave a comment and share.