How to Raise a Courageous Child
Life is full of hurdles and, for a child, tackling them is a challenge. However, instilling courage in your child can help him face adversity with a smile, and lead a successful and happy life.
By Anju Ann Mathew
Every parent wishes to protect their child from facing adversities and hardships. But, vicissitudes are a part of life and it is impossible to prevent a child from bumping into them.
Therefore, as a parent, it is your responsibility to train your child in how to face challenges with courage. But, courage does not develop in a day. The ability to look impediments and setbacks in the face and come up with a plan to work around them flourishes only with time. Here are a few ways you can encourage your child to be courageous.
- Be the superhero: Children look up to their favourite superheroes and are inspired by their acts of bravery and valour. They often indulge in role-play, where they try to act like their superheroes, imitating their mannerisms, also applying their logic to solving problems. So, why not be your child’s superhero? Why not make her think, “What would my dad do to solve this issue?” or “How would my mom deal with this problem?” Displaying a calm demeanour and a sense of courage when dealing with everyday issues can set you on the path to becoming your child’s superhero.
- Build confidence: Do not stop your child from reacting to situations, but do show him the proper way of expressing his opinions or his sense of disapproval of something. Allowing your child to voice his opinions goes a long way in instilling in him the confidence to stand up for what he feels is right.
- Don’t demoralise: There would be times when your child may not pass with flying colours, make mistakes while doing something, or even lose a challenge. During such situations, do not compare your child with her peers, censure her attitude or effort or criticise her for failing. Ensure that you keep your child’s morale high at all times with words of encouragement. Remember, nobody is perfect, as all of us make mistakes.
- Respect choices: No two children are alike; every child has his own strengths and weaknesses. So, do not force your child to do something he doesn’t like to or isn’t comfortable with, like learning a skill or striking friendship with someone he doesn’t like or taking up a sport. Respecting your child’s choices would make him feel secure and assured.
- Overcome the fear of failure: Mark Twain says, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” While children are eager to pursue their dreams, they are also affected by the fear of failure which subdues their will and potential. As a parent, motivate your child to set aside his doubts and fears, and strive hard to overcome the challenges.
- Step out of the comfort zone: Sometimes children are very reluctant to step out of their comfort zone and try out a new idea or experience, or deal with a challenging situation. Encourage and push your child to step outside her comfort zone and think of ways of dealing with the situation. Not only will it increase her self-belief but also make her resilient and bold.
- Go back in time: With your child, travel back in time into history to meet brave and great historical and mythological heroes. Tell him about their courageous acts and deeds, and how they upheld moral principles. Not only will this help him develop courage but also strengthen his moral fabric.
- Distinguish courage from aggression: While you teach your child how to be brave, also tell her about how bravery is different from aggression or violence. Make her understand that courage is as much a moral attribute as it is physical.
- Celebrate courageous acts: While results are important, it is equally important to focus on the process and the effort put in. With your motivation and encouragement, when your child indulges in a brave act, praise his effort, irrespective of the result. Praise his sense of empathy, his urge to stand up for principles, and his inclination to try and change things for the better. Celebrate your child’s courageous acts.
So, while you take the brave decision of teaching your child how to be courageous, remember that it is never too late to change anything and that Rome wasn’t built in a day. With your persistent efforts, your child will grow up into an individual who not only displays courage when the need arises, but also acts in a righteous manner.
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