The biggest responsibility that all parents share is the need to keep their kids safe. Part of this process is to teach kids how to be safe when they are on their own. For some parents, getting your kids to take risks and step outside of their comfort zone is a huge challenge.
There are several ways to help a child build confidence and take more appropriate and calculated risks. Here are just a few tips to fostering that in kids:
1. Focus on effort.
One of the issues that come when a child is not willing to take risks is that they are not willing to work hard for something that they could fail at. Therefore, when fearing failure, a child may end up not trying at all. To teach them better, instead of focusing on the end result — such as winning a game or doing well on a test — you should focus on the effort that they put forth. This way, a child will quickly learn that the journey is important, and that failure is acceptable.
2. Go over safety measures.
One of the issues that some kids have with accepting risk is that they fear that they are on their own. This is especially true when it comes to being left alone for a short period of time. However, you need to explain to them that they are always safe and that there are processes in place that are designed to provide them with additional protection. These can include systems from home security systems to lifeguards to local law enforcement, which are all here to help people that are in trouble.
3. Allow kids freedom to journey.
Many parents today are more hands-on than the typical parent was in the past. While there are advantages to this style of parenting, you need to make sure that you provide them with the freedom that they need to handle their journey on their own. Give them space to breathe, to be alone, to decide what they like and what they want to do.
4. Discuss learning from failure.
While it is important to not fear failure or lack of success, you do need to be able to recognize that it happened. However, you do not need to spend time dwelling on it for a long time. Instead, you should focus on finding ways to learn from the failure. One of the advantages of not succeeding is that you will have the opportunity to reflect on what you did well and what did not go well. When you are able to teach your child to do this, they will learn how to overcome adversity and move forward after they have any type of setback associated with risk.
5. Be the example.
Like anything else with your kids, you need to be able to set the example that your kids should look up to. One of the things that kids are frequently able to identify is when a parent appears to be nervous or not willing to take appropriate risk in some situations. In these situations, it is important that you show a child how to go about deciding whether a risk is worth taking and then pursuing the situation if the risk is acceptable.
Ultimately, all children will have a natural level of risk tolerance that they are willing to deal with. Those that seem scared to take appropriate risks could end up missing out on some great opportunities later in their lives. As a parent, it is important that you are able to teach them the difference between an appropriate and inappropriate risk, and foster a love for the prior.
Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who specializes in business technology, customer relationship management, and lead management. She also writes about the latest social trends, specifically involving social media.