Fear is an integral part of life. In fact, it's even part of learning. The way we interpret danger is usually through feelings of fear, and of course, it's important, especially for growing girls in today's world, to know what danger looks like, how to react to it in the safest way, and mostly, how to avoid it. Too much fear, or fear of too many things, however, is not healthy or helpful for building self-esteem or confidence in kids. Too much fear can lead to constant anxiety, which brings on doubt and low self-esteem. So here are a couple of tips to help you teach your daughters how to recognize and avoid danger. These tips will also help build their self-confidence, self-esteem and peace of mind, and help teach them when it's appropriate to fear things, and when not to.
First, help them develop STREET SMARTS: Fostering street smarts in your growing children is one of the greatest skills you can teach girls especially, and it's one of those things they will not learn in any school or classroom, no matter how much money you might spend on their education, over the years. To help your daughters understand how to navigate the world on their own safely, give them just a few age appropriate pointers at a time, and once they master those, you can give them more. Keep lessons simple and easy to follow, like: Never talk to strangers. Always look for another mother or an officer in uniform if you need help. Help them memorize your phone number, their full names, your full names, and information on how to find you if they get lost or need help. Give them the TOOLS and INFORMATION they need to feel and BE safe in the world. Don't keep them in a bubble; it will not serve them well as they grow and wander out alone. SHOW them, by example, how to stay safe and get around, and what sorts of areas and people and situations to avoid and be weary of (like dark alleys, strangers or people asking certain things, exploring abandoned areas, unlit streets or malls or other areas at night, etc.)
Second, BREED AWARENESS AND CONFIDENCE: Take your kids places, as they grow. Even if you worry that they might not behave properly, bring them on trips, or to the theatre, to a funeral, to museums, to services, to volunteer events, to rallies or walks for causes you believe in, etc. Exposing children, in a safe way, to many different sorts of situations, and to different cultures and views and places WITH YOU as they grow makes them more AWARE of how the world works, how people function in crowds, in formal situations, in somber situations, in quiet situations, etc. It will allow your children to feel confident in their own ability to be a part of all that, comfortably. It will teach them to know what to expect as they step out into the world, slowly, on their own. It will allow them to know how to behave, and how not to behave. And to recognize what feels safe, and what does not. Or where to find safety and safe sorts of fun activities, too.
Helping your growing girls learn to navigate the world safely and comfortably will help them feel strong and capable, too, as they continue their journeys through life, with and without you.
How do you build confidence and control fear in your growing children?
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