10 Ways to Raise Fearless Kids

Nick Hall Photography

Nick Hall Photography

Being a perfectionist is no fun. In fact it can be downright paralyzing. Fear of failure limits life to safe choices where there are no mistakes, but also no daring ideas or the kind of pluck that leads you to exploration and adventure. The good news is, fearlessness is a learned behavior. The bad news is, it is a learned behavior. There can be a genetic predisposition to worry and perfectionism, but they are largely passed on by the good folks who raise us.

thisiscollosol.com

thisiscolossol.com

“Don’t touch that!”
“Be careful!”
“Stay right here beside me…”
“Don’t get dirty.”
“Wait! Let me catch you.”
“You could get killed (maimed, injured, hurt) doing that.”
Which could be true, but in the end we worry about the wrong things. Danger lurks under your kitchen sink and medicine cabinet more than climbing a tree or in the blade of a pocketknife.

Chronic concern from parents can hijack a child’s confidence to uncover a solution or a new skill and keep her confined to what is safe, what is known, shielded into adulthood from the crazy joy of living big. An executive of a Fortune 500 company once told me his company’s policy when facing a problem is first to aim for the right answer. The next best thing is to make a mistake. The worst thing to do is nothing. Mistakes, and the bumps that can accompany them, are part of the remarkable, complicated process of growth. They develop fresh possibilities and resiliency. Allowing our children to take manifold risks and make mistakes without voicing our fears of the danger involved can lead to the answer we have been waiting all our lives for.

10 Ways to Raise Fearless Kids

comfort zone1. Be fearless yourself. Take chances. Learn something new
2. Make mistakes, show what it means to keep going
3. Talk to people of all walks of life with your child. It humanizes the world and reminds us we are all connected
4. Expect the best, and most times it will manifest before your very eyes
5. Allow skinned knees and bumps without comment. They are part of the childhood experience
6. Listen to your children, treat them with respect
7. Do not work on your child’s ‘esteem’ with unasked for feedback. If you love them, they feel lovable and capable of great things
8. Do your own thing. Benign neglect allows a child to experiment with new ideas without feeling judged
9. Teach your child consequences for her actions. It will prepare her for the future and give a sense of control.
10. Travel with your children. Expose them to strange food, weird people, and public transportation. Get lost, it is an important way of showing them that the world is safe and you will find your way back

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