Courage is one of the most powerful factors that leads to success and happiness. It’s important for children to understand that courage doesn’t always feel courageous. Behind many successes are failure, rejection and adversity. From the outside courage may look impressive, easy and powerful. From the inside, however, it can feel frightening, lonely and filled with self-doubt. True courage is something that happens inside to push us through these feelings. Here are some ways to build courage in your children:
- Give kids permission to be imperfect. Taking risks and trying new things gives kids an opportunity to learn.
- Encourage your child to try something new that is hard or challenging for them: meet someone new, try a different book genre, listen to different music or take up an instrument, explore a new hobby or sport
- Be an example. Share times when you stood up for what you believed in even if the people around you didn’t agree. Share times you’ve said, “no” or “yes” when others felt differently, or a time when you tried something new that made you uncomfortable.
- Self-talk. Help your children develop some messages they can give themselves when they are in a situation that demands courage. “It might feel scary, but I can try.” “I won’t let fear get in the way of what I know I want to do.”
- Focus on the process. Encourage children to focus on the process. Valuing the experience versus the end goal invites a child to have the courage to try. They will get over disappointment, but whenever they exercise courage, they are strengthening this ‘inside’ quality.