#Raisingcapablechildren: B is for Being Brave – How to Raise Intrinsically Brave Children

Welcome to Day 2 of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge and B is for Being Brave. I won’t be talking about bravery in the sense of fighting a lion or the David vs. Goliath scenario. That is indeed bravery but my focus today will be on raising children capable enough to brave any challenges or difficulties that life throws their way. The ability to keep standing and seeing oneself through any situation is bravery.

As our children grow up life will throw many challenges at them and one of the most important weapons in their armour at that point will be courage. They will face failures, rejections and twists and turns in their chosen path. That’s when they will need to be brave – find the courage to keep going, or to find another way.

We also need to tell our children that bravery looks very different from outside than inside. It’s all shining and bright and impressive and powerful from the outside – maybe even thrilling and adventurous, but inside, it is more often than not frightening and scary – it is trembling legs and butterflies in the stomach. Fear is the other side of bravery – if there is no fear, there is no need for courage either! Remember the popular punchline of the drink mountain dew, “darr ke aage jeet hai” (Beyond fear, lies victory)

That brings us to the question of how one can instill bravery and courage in our children. Let me share some tips and ideas and I look forward to hearing your ideas as well.

So here I am with 9 tips on how to raise brave children:

  1. Start by sharing your own fears and how you have tackled them: when you share your own fears with your children, you are giving them the message that it is okay to have fears. And when you tell them how you tackled those fears, you are showing that fears can be conquered. Encourage your kids to talk about their fears and guide them on how to overcome those.
  2. Let them handle their own fears: Guide them but let them handle their fears themselves. As a parent you would love to fix a situation for your kids. However, sometimes it is best to stand apart and let them deal with it. What they learn from that will be for a lifetime. They would learn to have confidence in themselves and their decisions.
  3. Tell them stories of bravery from your own family and outside. These leave the longest lasting impressions and also sometimes give children standards to live up to. I remember my grandmom would tell me a story from her childhood – a small channa (chickpea) got stuck in her ear when she was a little girl. With no immediate medical help around – her father poured some oil in her ear to soften it and bit by bit wedged the channa out. It was a long and painful process and what I remember the most from the story is that not once did my grandmom cry out in pain. To date, except for my labour pains, I have tried never crying out in pain – physical and even emotional.
  4. Applaud every small act of bravery by your child: it could be applauding a public performance if your child is scared of limelight or appreciating a shy child on making new friends. It could be standing up to a bully or going to the nearby shop all alone for the first time or choosing to walk away from a fight. All of these are instances where children have put away their fears and decided to face them.
  5. Challenge them to step out of their comfort zones: everyone likes to operate in their comfort zones and why not. We need to challenge our kids to step out and try something that scares them. Show them how to break the challenge into manageable bits. Discuss what it would be like, how to plan for it, what could be options a,b and c. My mother in law is handicapped (her right hand is deformed) and her father encouraged her to try her hand at everything. She remembers how he encouraged her to learn driving, slowly building her confidence. It is a form of courage to not take refuge in your drawbacks but step up and deal with them.
  6. Take responsibility, own up: Owning up to a mistake is being brave. It is okay to make mistakes and it is important to own up to them. Blaming someone else or the situation is taking the easy way out and displays a lack of courage. I grew up reading a lot of Enid Blyton books and one of the lessons I imbibed was that we always own up to our mistakes, however embarrassing or terrifying that may be. But for a child to learn to own up, as a parent you must appreciate them for their honesty and not scold them for their mistake. Otherwise they will forever learn to hide their mistakes.
  7. Assessing Risk – understanding pros and cons: An important aspect of bravery is the ability to assess risk. Being foolhardy is not brave and neither is taking decisions under pressure (peer or otherwise). Help children learn to assess situations and how to react to them. It is important for them to be able to understand the consequences of their actions and steps.
  8. Changing course is also bravery: continuing on the path taken reflects perseverance, but sometimes one may need to backtrack or change course to achieve their objective. Flexibility is more important than being stubborn and perhaps braver too. It is never too late change anything.
  9. Learning to say NO: this is a tough one for me. I have always found it hard to say NO and it takes a lot of courage. But being assertive is very important and I am slowly learning it. As a parent, you must allow your child to refuse. Let them explain why they are saying no and then respect that. You may encourage them to rethink but the idea is that they are not pressurized to say Yes – just to remain in your or anyone else’s good books.

To sum up, bravery is an essential part of independent an confident individuals. I hope you liked my ideas – what are yours? Do share some of your tips too. Do come back tomorrow for “C is for Courage of Conviction

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Regards, Sakshi aka tripleamommy
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29 comments

  1. Talking about out own fears and sharing our experiences goes a long way. parents often tell the brighter side to their kids but kids want to make sure that they are not the only one going through such feelings. We all have gone thought it at some point of time.

  2. The points you gave is important. My kids were fearless but used to fall down Nd hurt themselves. My niece was careful and has never fallen down as she was very careful. But now she is scared of climbing down the stairs.

  3. This is an important topic to be discussed. We overprotect our kids and fail to take them out of their comfort zone. Finally they end being scared of anything and everything. This is a sad situation and need to be dealt with.

  4. Loved all the pointers and agree that it is very important to maintain a balance when it comes to teach our kids something meaningful. as a parent it is common to behave in over protective manner but as you said it is very important to trust on them and let them deal with their fear and insecurities with bravery.

  5. This is very important and needs to be addressed. The balance is important because as you said being brave doesn’t mean that kids should take the risk. Loved this post. Thanks for this subject.

  6. I always told stories of bravery to my daughter , nieces and nephews. Reading your post brought back so many beautiful stories of reading Ramayana and Mahabharata.

  7. These are some really nice tips. I completely agree that we need to share our stories and make kids realize that owning up to our mistakes is also brave. It is a tough world out there and instead of expecting them to be perfect it is better to teach them to own up.

  8. Those are some great tips on raising brave children. Parents are the first role models and we should always be careful in the way we behave or show our bravery as they tend to follow us on the same path.

  9. Wow.. Much need topic. At one stage in our lives we do have a fear.. It could be of darkness or fear of unkoown or anything for that matter. I agree to all the pointers you have mentioned.. Being assertive and taking ownership is the most important of all. Sharing our fear stories and helping them overcome their fear did work for me.

  10. This is such an important topic, I never thought about it as something to teach. But you have shared some really easy and practical tips that parents can follow to teach their kids about bravery and courage.

  11. Wonderful tips to raise a brave child. I especially like to mention – take responsibility, own up. Kids usually are wary of this. Your post is like a guide for parents.Am sure many will benefit from it.

  12. These tips are really important to consider while raising our kids. They have to learn to take responsibility and face challenges.

  13. Learning to say no is huge. Its so difficult if the child’s choices aren’t accepted from the beginning. If hes always used to abiding by what is said to him then he might turn out to be submissive in nature in the future.

  14. Owning the responsibility is a great lesson and should be taught as early it can be. It can be as simple as picking their toys and remembering their schedules. Completely liked your series on Parenting talks.

  15. Bravery is an important virtue to have and I feel that it should be developed since childhood. Well-written post. Sharing our experiences with kids and motivating them to do what’s right is the right way to go.

  16. I believe that as parents it is very important for us to set examples by sharing our fear to our children. Telling our tales would make them believe that with courage and bravery, it is easy to overcome every fear. Also, I agree we must appreciate our children’s little acts of bravery too.

  17. Great tips you have shared. Kids do what they see so as parents we need to be very brave and confident in front of them. Also talking to them about our experiences or stories of bravery surely boosts them.

  18. Some very relevant points shared here. Helping kids deal with their fears at a young age boosts their confidence a lot. Also makes them brave to deal with different situations of life.

  19. Oh yes this is a great trait that kids need to be me capable of. Being brave is directly proportional to being independent in many ways and ability to take independent decisions. Great helpful tips from your end.

  20. This is a much needed topic . Raising a brave child is important and your pointers are very helpful in this case .

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