Raising Brave Kids
When I picture words like “risk-taking” and “adventure” for my kids, I freak out. It brings in images of broken bones, bruised knees and even worse things. However kids and adults alike, need to have a spirit of adventure, in order to take on life as it comes, with a smile.
Even if it’s a toddler walking for the first time, a kid learning a new sport, or us adults, we all need to be able to welcome change. We need to raise kids who are brave. We need to therefore hone in them, a spirit of adventure. Let’s look at how can we go about doing that:
Help them be brave: Don’t hold them back from experience new things or be over-protective towards your kids. Let them go cycling, learn swimming, try out new food, walk barefoot in the hills. Let them live, as nature had intended us to.
Your child’s sense of bravery changes based on your vibe and the situation. Some kids jump at the idea of doing something scary and exciting, while some hide under a table even to avoid playing Holi! However, all kids yearn to explore the world around them. Let your kids do that. Encourage them, after teaching them to be careful and alert.
Be their safety net: That’s the best thing that you can do for you kids. Guide them just enough and be there for them, no matter what. Some kids try new things eagerly while others take their time. Adjust your expectations to match with your child’s personality.
Instead of getting annoyed that your child won’t jump into the swimming pool despite you paying a bomb for the classes, let your kids get comfortable watching others swim. Get into the pool yourself, if you can. Courage is contagious. They will come around.
Build a clear conscious: Values go a long way than rule and regulations. Help your kids be rooted in good values like honesty, empathy, the desire to grow and so on. Let these be their guiding lights. Most of all, helping them have a spirit of adventure teaches kids bravery. Doing the right thing, teaches kids bravery. Help them be brave by being brave and honest yourself.
When you kids return the toys to whom it rightfully belongs, praise them. When you kids stand up to defend someone being wronged, praise them. That helps build bravery in your kids.
Foster that bravery some more: Talk about how proud you are of your kids for doing the little things that makes them brave. Tell them how much you trust them, but mean it. Tell them how you truly believe in them. In the night, leave them with brave thoughts of wanting to do the right thing, helping people around, being supportive. Tell them stories of brave people, of friends and relatives. Help them find a role model who is brave. Not risk friendly, but sensibly brave, This will go a long way in helping your kids develop a spirit of adventure.
Take it slow and easy: Let your kids take time to try out new things. Coax them gently but don’t push them too much. Let them find a sense of comfort in their cuddly toys, blankets, grandparents and you. Help them find that bravery step-by-step. There is no need to rush.Kids can grow at their own sweet pace. There is no need to match up with the world and run at an unruly pace.
Play adventure! Get them out of the confines of home! Coax them to play sports. Go trekking even if you are terrible at it. Try and be a little outdoorsy. If you shy away from it, there is no way you can talk about the virtues of being literally adventurous to your kids.
Listen without judgement: If they tell you that they are scared of riding a bike or playing football, genuinely listen without judgement. Don’t dismiss their fears. What seems tiny to you is a giant of a feeling for your kids. Listen patiently and empathise. Let them know that you understand. Tell them about your own such experiences and then how you overcame the fears. That will help them overcome their fears. Plod them gently but don’t be critical of their fears or they will stop confiding in you. Encourage lovingly, and they will soar high in life.