Raising courageous and resilient children is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs parents have. It requires perseverance, patience, and a never-ending supply of tissues. But the rewards are well worth it: when your children emerge from a difficult situation with smiles on their faces and a new perspective is when you know you’ve done your job.
But HOW do you go about raising courageous kids? What does courage even mean, and doesn’t it manifest in different ways? What’s the best approach to take?
Famously, billionaire entrepreneur and daredevil Richard Branson’s extraordinary mum, Eve, had a rather unique ‘old school’ approach to fostering independence and courage in her young son.
On a journey to visit his grandmother, six-year-old Richard was playing up, so Eve stopped the car a few miles from Gran’s house and told him to get out and find his own way there!
It was a harsh punishment that would probably have social services calling today. Still, that lonely, scary walk helped shape that little boy into the self-reliant man he became.
“She was incredibly supportive, lots of love,” Branson revealed in an interview, “but every opportunity she had, she would push us to the limits!”
Independence and emotional resilience in the face of hardship are just two manifestations of courage.
Six distinct forms of courage have been identified by psychologists, including physical, emotional, intellectual, social, moral, and spiritual (or existential) courage.
Conclusion: Children can be courageous in many different ways. They can show great courage in some areas and still be weak, thoughtless, and react in a cowardly or fearful manner in others, just as adults do.
The six types of courage discussed here overlap and work together in different ways. But they provide a guide for you to explore the concepts of courage and to ‘encourage’ your child to show more of that bravery in their lives.
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