Do you know how to battle fears, cope with difficult situations, get rid of anxiety and conquer obstacles? When you’re a child this is all new to you, and the big world hosts a lot of challenges. This is why it’s important to learn the meaning and importance of courage.
One of the parental roles is to equip their children with the psychological capacity to confront threatening and fearful situations on their own. It’s not easy as it seems, but sometimes being kind means that you withdraw a couple of steps as your kid goes through an uncomfortable situation.
How can I help my child build courage?
Combine challenges with praises.
If your kid is naturally shy or skittish, he or she will need additional encouragement, and you should give them praise for their effort. Overcoming fears and boundaries is just one part of the whole story. Encouraging kids to speak in class, to perform in front of the audience, to compete, and to find new friends, this is all OK, but it’s rarely achieved without taking one step at a time.
Check cultural references
When you start your research, you’ll find numerous resources in the community, literature, movies, and culture in general about bravery, courage, and cowardice. You can rely on stories and examples from real life. You can refer to a similar situation from your own childhood and youth. Younger children will enjoy a good story or cartoon.
Show them some significant role models
Of course, you can use examples of superheroes and other fictional characters. However, don’t forget that there are many wonderful examples of brave people from history you can point out to. Women and men who were daring to stand for what they believed in, to help others, to be a good friend.
Tell them about important historical figures from history. Teach them about:
- famous scientists who defied the authorities of their time,
- statesmen who fought for righteous laws and against tyranny,
- physicians who saved lives during times of struggle,
- explorers who broke new frontiers,
- marine biologists who uncover the wildlife beauty in formidable depths of the ocean,
- civil rights leaders who stood against injustices and prejudice,
- religious figures who put their life at stake for a better world
- war veterans who had given everything for their country,
- many local unnamed heroes from your own community. Think of lifeguards, medical workers, miners, and firefighters as examples.
Besides, show them the opposites and comical examples of selfishness, cowardice, and skittishness.
Reaching out is important
Bravery and courage isn’t only about being strong, physically capable, or daring. It’s also about selflessness, generosity, and protecting people around you in times of need. You should support your kid wholeheartedly if they’re interested in
- assisting elderly and handicapped neighbors,
- doing volunteer work around the community,
- helping younger kids with homework or schoolwork
- building birdhouses and shelters for small animals
Kids need to believe in themself and should uphold some values in order to be brave. This should be distinguished from stubbornness. They need to firmly believe that they are standing up for a right cause in order to truly defend their point of view.
Moreover, they should know that there are things worth fighting for. They shouldn’t give up in face of uncertainty or danger, but fight their way through. This doesn’t mean that they should start hitting walls, but find clever ways to resolve such situations.
Don’t overburden them!
Although this was one of the traditional practices in battling fears, exposing your child to things and situations that scare them can be counterproductive. It’s most important to put things in context, and to figure out the source of the fear.
Usually, it has to do with the general feeling they associated with the object of their fear when they first encountered it. This will take some time, so don’t rush your child to overcome fears, however silly it might seem to you initially.
Roleplay might sound like one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s really effective when it comes to teaching bravery. Of course, it’s important that you do this in a safe environment, be it your living room, at the local park, or at a playground. Practice makes perfect. Rehearse a speech in front of the class, create a role of a bold child, and confront fears with conviction.
Give them room for practice
If your kid loves to run around, but is afraid of heights, let them cross intricate obstacle courses and climb walls available at Uptown Jungle fun park in Chandler, AZ, while you’re there to make sure they are safe. Make sure that they are surrounded by their peers and that they support each other. Take a step away, and show them that you believe in them.
Courage is about facing fears and anxiety, not fleeing or fixing the situation instantaneously. It requires other skills, such as patience, mental strength, resilience, self-reliance, independence, and conviction. It also requires that parents take a couple of steps away, but to welcome and praise good examples of brave and bold behavior.