#raisingcapablechildren: C is for Courage of Conviction – How to Instill Courage of Conviction

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Yesterday I wrote at length about teaching kids how to be brave. I will extend that discussion today to something I believe is a crucial part of a child’s personality development. On Day 3 of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge, let’s talk about C for courage of conviction. What is courage of conviction? Simply put it is the confidence to act or behave in accordance with one’s beliefs or ideologies, especially in the face of resistance, criticism, or persecution. It is when you stick to your decision or values even when faced by people who oppose you.

Let us acknowledge that many times one needs courage to push away people who distract us from our path, or we need to deal with expectations of others, or fall in line with the majority and the world at times. Standing up for our values is not easy. A situation like this requires immense amounts of courage – none of that is easy to come by. Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter series nails it in this quote, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” This kind of courage is built through years of nurturing and as parents we need to be mindful of the same.

How to build courage of conviction in our children?

All of the 8 strategies I described in my previous blog are applicable here as well, but one would also need to go one step ahead. Below I am sharing a few more tips on building courage of conviction in our children and teaching them how to stand up for not only themselves, but even for those unable to stand up for themselves.

  1. Respect your children: it is very common for parents to treat their children as beings subordinate to them. Beings who should follow what their parents and elders tell them. As important as it is for children and youngsters to be respectful to their elders, it is equally important for the elders to respect children. If you respect your children, you are helping build their self respect.
  2. Give them space for courage of thought: Ask for your children’s opinions and give them importance equal to your own opinions. Agree to disagree – tell them that it is possible to have different perspectives and also teach them to understand and respect different points of view. Let them question, but teach them to question respectfully. Compliance and obedience are good qualities, but too much of these means we are raising non thinking individuals.
  3. Help children being self aware: understand what drives him or her, what values does she or he hold. A child’s value system comes first of all from family but then slowly builds as the child starts interacting with world. They are like sponges and soak up what makes sense to them. True values are tested under pressure – perhaps you could try creating scenarios to test what they hold true to themselves. For example, what will you do if the shopkeeper returns extra change?
  4. Teach them how to reflect: Reflection has three dimensions – self-reflect, self-inspect, and self-correct. Children as young as 5 to 6 can be made to think about their actions. “Did I do what was right? Could I have done this a different way, or perhaps a better way?”. Help children think about the responses as well as examine more appropriate alternatives. Doing this as a matter of practice, builds conviction in a child. When you are in the habit of deconstructing your actions, you learn to be sure of your actions and their underlying beliefs.
  5. Learning to do what is right: our children will face many situations when they need to decide whether to do the right thing or the easy thing. It could be as simple as bunking a class or a complex one like being a whistle blower. There are three rules of thumb one can follow in such a case:
    1. Is it against the law?
    2. Will it hurt someone?
    3. Does it feel right to me? Will I be able to talk about this to the world at large?

The answer to these can act as moral compass that children can follow all through their lives.

  • Help them develop their intuition: this links to the third rule of thumb above – “does it feel right to me”. This question is not easy to answer, especially so if we are under pressure. The number of external noises at that time will make it difficult for us to find the answer to that one. Gut feel or intuition is that inner voice that helps guide us at such times. Encourage them to note when they feel something is right or wrong. Do not always pressure them to justify their acts. It is not easy, but with practice one can get there.
  • Teach your child to be an upstander: upstanders are kids who have the courage not only to stand up for themselves but for others too. This would not only require a strong value system, but also empathy and kindness.
  • Differentiate between stubbornness and courage of conviction: being stubborn vs having courage of conviction are two different things. Stubbornness comes from refusing to change one’s opinion or being unable to view or accept opinions or stands different from others. A person who is not open to any kind of change is more likely stubborn than having courage of conviction. The latter is not closed to outside or different opinions and is driven by an internal moral compass.

By raising kids who can stand up for themselves and others, we are raising future leaders of the world. Let me know if you agree with some of these tips and I would love to hear yours too.

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Liked this blog? Do consider buying my book “Raising Capable Children” that shares hundreds of tips and ideas on bringing up confident children. See below for buying options.

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Thanks so much for reading! Please comment, share and spread the word! 

Regards, Sakshi aka tripleamommy
You can find me at:
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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

26 comments

  1. all pointters are great but personally I like no. 4 most. it is very important for kids to learn the art of reflection. and as a parent we should try to support on this with fullest. once kids learn that it is so important to look back, analyze and improve your mistakes, then they will surly have a bright future with an impressive personality.

  2. The most important point that you pointed out is the difference between stubbornness and courage of conviction. I think the previous steps if followed in the right path would naturally give the kids the ability of discretion.

  3. Self-reflection is very important. A few points you have given makes everyone introspect and change their perspective of themselves and their kids as well. Loved the post. You have carefully, touched every relevant aspect.

  4. It is very important to teach our kids about right and wrong but we always falter where to draw the line. Thank you I have a clarity of perspective now. I going to try this out with my kids.

  5. It’s so important to teach kids to be courageous and loved your tips, especially you mentioned we need to let them know the difference between being courageous and stubborn, I too agree with this.

  6. These are some valuable lessons to teach. I completely agree that we need to teach them to reflect and be courageous enough to understand that there are other ways in which something’s can be done.

  7. Im raising by daughter to be an upstander. I want her to be able to express what she feels and also to stand up in need of others. Having that understanding and practicing it at the young age will help them to grow into it and practice it in their lives.

  8. Excellent topic and very helpful for parents too. We do talk about courage and speaking for ourselves with our kids but standing up for others is also an important trait that we should teach our kids. Thanks for sharing these strategies.

  9. I agree as a parent it’s our responsibility to set an example before our kids. They learn what they see. Being courageous is one of the most important quality everyone should posses and this will come if they understand what are their core values in life. Very well written post.

  10. Teaching children self Awareness is the most important attribute according to me. Then they will be able to understand emotions and reflect too. Another fantastic post by you.

  11. Such amazing pointers, self awareness definitely is the most important thing to be taught from the beginning. Parents should be driven to make them differentiate between being stubborn and courage of conviction

  12. The pointers in the post are so well explained that Parenting seem easy with it. Hearing child voice and their conviction is so important in this way we are making them own their decisions.

  13. Why just children, courage of conviction is something that even elders must learn. There are few upstanders who stand up for others, we definitely need more of them.

  14. You have listed out the best points for building courage. Give them space is what I believe in. Each child is an individual in his/her right. We should not stifle them with our views all the time.They should be given the space to grow on their own as well.

  15. Giving them space to express themselves is so important. And this needs to be taught from home. Thats when kids learn to form an opinion and stand by it. Loved all your pointers.

  16. What an amazing set of pointers to instill the value of courage of conviction. Being self aware and reflecting on what went wrong when taught at early age definitely builds the foundation of the child’s character.

  17. You have nicely tapped on all the points and also shown the diff between being courageous and stubborn. When we start at am early age with kids, it helps them a lot. I ma teaching my kids to fight their own battle and also speak up when they have to. Solve the issue before they come to mumma for help.

  18. It’s important to teach kids the difference between, the right, wrong and different. This is taught at the right time can go a long way in raising kids who are committed and can make the correct choice.

  19. I feel many times we parents only bog the kids down because of our insecurity and become a hurdle in becoming an courageous independent child. The pointers made by you in this article are so relevant and I agree

  20. As you mentioned we need to let kids know the difference between being courageous and stubborn, I am completely agree with this. It’s so important to teach kids to be courageous.

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