Courage has its place in all of our lives, so fostering it in kids can help them become well-adjusted adults. As research published in Psychological Studies suggests, it can be a defining factor that reduces social anxiety, giving children more emotional control and stress management abilities.
There are two different ways one can define courage– namely, an openness to tackle fears and a willingness to fight for personal beliefs. Parents should take the time to develop and instill this in their kids as it will benefit them in the long run. Here are just some of the ways you can foster courage in your children:
Allow Them to Gain New Experiences
Oftentimes, fear can be caused by inexperience. Encouraging your kids to take risks and make mistakes can be the best way for them to build their courage. As our past article on ‘The Benefits of Adventure’ highlights, life experiences will help individuals grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. Children will gain more self-confidence if they are allowed to seize exciting opportunities as they will have more faith in their abilities.
You can also encourage them to document and recount their experiences as a reminder that they can do anything they set their mind to. Traveling is a great time to do this as travel is strongly linked with a sense of adventure and courage. Maryville University outlines how travel writing can range from blogging and long-form pieces all the way to reviews. By writing their new experiences down, your children will be able to better appreciate and understand the world around them. This will help them sharpen their writing skills, which could give them the courage to pursue a future career. Through capturing the wonders of the world with their words – and even photographs – can remind them that taking risks and encountering new situations is worth it. This will allow them to be more courageous with their decisions in life.
Give Them Role Models to Look Up To
Children can often learn by mirroring the behaviors they see around them. As their guardian, you should exemplify the kind of courage you want them to imitate and take note of. This can mean not being afraid to stand up for yourself when you know you are in the right, or even something as simple as checking for monsters under their bed. This will show your kids that there is nothing to be afraid of and that they can take their lives into their own hands.
You can also expose them to public figures who show other aspects of courage. A great example is Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai who fights for equal rights in her country. At the mere age of 17, she received a Nobel Peace Prize for her work. This shows that there is no age limit for courage and that children can aspire to speak out for their beliefs from a young age. Having role models to look up to can inspire them to step out of their comfort zones to emulate these personalities.
Encourage Them to Think for Themselves
To stand for their beliefs means they have to feel strongly about different issues. It is important for you to encourage them to think for themselves so they can build their own principles and values. Controlling parents may lead to children doubting their own capabilities and believing they can’t achieve things without their guardians. Giving them this independence can help them trust their instincts and have more faith in themselves.
Stanford University’s study on parental over-engagement explains that taking a more passive yet guiding role as your children get older will help them become more well-rounded individuals who are capable of fighting their own battles. This builds courage as they no longer have to rely on your constant shelter to protect themselves, and this will make them more confident in taking risks. They will know that they can be confident in their skills and allow themselves to step out of their comfort zones when the situation calls for it.
Fostering courage in children should be done as early as possible. This will help them make the most of life, gain confidence, and hone their judgment. As parents, it is important for you to prepare them for the real world and courage is certainly one of the many tools they will need in adulthood.
Specially written for LiveLikeSam.org
By: Raya Joanna