Children are fearless – they will touch fire and even drink unknown liquids thinking that it is edible. If we do not look out for them, they will be in great peril. However, if these children already felt what it is like to touch fire or drink unknown liquids, they will likely touch it again.
As parents, we try to protect our children by scaring them. Sometimes this works. We have to be careful though because scaring our children so they do not do anything ruthless may lead them to being scared all of their lives. We have to teach our children to be brave more than to be afraid.
Brave means having courage and valour. As children, they will not understand the essence of bravery but when they grow up and know the concept of cowardice and bravery, they will understand. It is crucial that we teach our children to be brave at a young age. Here are tips that we can consider:
- Be an example: There is no questioning that our children look up to us. If we show fear and cowardice, they will think that it is okay to be afraid. If we show bravery amidst circumstances, they will espouse it.
- Constantly challenge and praise them: We must challenge our children to do the things that they fear. For example, trying new food or speaking in front of the class. When our kids step up and do these things, we have to give them love and praise. Their courageous acts – even attempts should be praised.
- Build their confidence and conviction: Being courageous stems from knowing what is right and wrong. As our children grow, their courage will translate to confidence and by knowing what is right and wrong, they will be strong in their conviction. This is the reason why parents should teach children the difference of right and wrong.
- Differentiating violence and bravery: Children may think of bravery as facing the opponent and physically challenge him/her. We have to be careful not to put this on their mind. There is a difference between violence and bravery. They have to know it. We need to teach our children righteous justice.
- Communicate with our children: Our children need to know that we encountered moments where we were scared. We have to point out that we dealt with it with the help of our parents. It won’t hurt us to have a little and honest conversation with our children.
We have to know that little acts of bravery can make a difference. There are different strategies for Singaporean parents but at the end of the day, we only need to remember that Singapore needs brave children for its future.