Helping Your Kids Build Courage
Courage can be a slippery characteristic to live out. We teach our kids to be brave when they go to the doctor and dentist or to face one of their fears, but that doesn’t fully represent courage.
Courage is knowing the right thing to do and then doing it. Kids face many black and white lines that have turned grey in their life each day. These decisions seem so simple to adults, however they can be the preparation ground for how a child will respond as a teenager and adult. How does a child step into daily difficult decisions and do the right thing?
Parents should watch how their child responds when faced with doing the right thing. Kids and adults develop patterns of behavior. Our thought processes become habitual and cause us o make the same decisions over and over. This causes the decisions your child is making today important, because it won’t be long until they become your child’s habits.
It is important to build into your child what is right and wrong. Parents need to be models of this by talking with their child about decisions they are making now. Kids need to understand that honesty, responsibility, and discipline are adult practices too.
Ask your child to describe when they have a hard time doing the right thing. This provides them an opportunity to communicate what is going on in their minds as they are processing decisions. Tell them a time when you had a difficult time doing the right thing. It’s is good to remind our kids that parents struggle sometimes too.
Remember, courage is bigger than being brave and is not built at the dentist office. It is important to talk with your kids about many things, but you have to start early in their life because the window of opportunity will slowly narrow when they want to talk more with their friends. The constant chatter will fade too quickly so embrace it now.