It is said that courage is the ability to face fear and to proceed anyway. Many children, and adults for that matter, get bogged down in their fears and fail to realize their goals, and the contributions they have to make world. Quite simply, fear can make someone less than they are. Below is a discussion of three fundamental ways to help the anxious child be courageous in the face of his fears.
1.Courage in the pursuit of goals.
Courage in the pursuit of goals is about teaching children persistence in the face of failure. Nobody likes to fail; however, some people take failure more to heart than others. Often, children who quit easily after failure believe that falling short of a goal affects their inherent value as a person. Quite understandably, they become afraid to put their self-worth on the chopping block a second time, and so they abandon their goal. These kids believe there is no room for failure because they feel that they must be perfect to deserve love, respect, friends, social status and other good things in life. Let children know that they are loved and valued regardless of their achievements. If you praise childrens efforts rather than the results, it will encourage them to keep trying in the face of failure. Also, praise their fortitude, strength and courage when they persist in trying.
2.Courage to stand up for principles.
Children often face heavy peer pressure to be one of the crowd, to do what the crowd does, and to believe what the crowd believes. A child who doesnt toe the line may find himself ostracized by his peers. Being the odd man out can be emotionally devastating for kids. So how can we help kids to stand of for what they feel is right, when they face such high stakes? First, explain to children that although they may receive a negative reaction from peers initially, over the long haul, they will be respected for having the strength to voice their opinion. It is important for parents to praise their courage in the meantime. Second, explain the dynamics of groups. Very often in groups, not all members agree although they may behave as if they do due to pressure from group leaders. Very often when somebody challenges status quo, it will give courage to other members of the group to speak up as well. Third, explain the importance of standing up for what you think is right. Standing up for what one believes could make a significant difference in the lives of others. Perhaps, it could stop the bullying of a child, or a childs experimentation with drugs.
3.Courage to Seek Quality Relationships.
Teach children that they deserve to have people in their lives who are kind and treat them well. If your child is involved with a peer who is unkind or bullying, reflect back to your child that the friends behavior is not acceptable. Encourage your child to either address the behavior with the friend (this may not be advisable if the friend is a true bully), or seek out more respectful relationships. Seeking out new friendships often times involves facing the fear of rejection. Support your child in this process, talking with him about how to make new friends, and praising his efforts.