Many children go through a daredevil phase where they think they're invincible. From towering trees and rocky mountains to bookcases and random furniture, there's nothing your kid won't eventually try to climb, scale, or mount at some point. But before you reach for the bubble wrap, you might want to consider if these venturesome acts are actually signs you have a brave kid. Because who knows? Maybe your son or daughter will grow up to be a fire fighter or rock climber because their bold nature was embraced in their childhood.
Yet sometimes people use euphemisms when talking about a child so as not to make waves. Unfortunately it seems like the word "brave" has become a passive aggressive way for friends and frenemies alike to imply that your kid is out of control and that you need to reign them in. But if Disney and Pixar movies have taught us anything, it's that being courageous is never a bad trait to have.
Curious to see if you're raising a fearless phenom? Then you should check out some of these top signs that you just might have a future super hero on your hands. Better stock up on knee pads and capes.
1. They Still Feel Fear
When you picture someone who is brave, you probably imagine someone who stares fear in the eye without blinking. On the contrary, it seems that knowing your situation is scary and choosing to face it anyways is true courage. Dr. Melanie Greenberg, a clinical psychologist, told Psychology Today that feeling fear is one of the first signs of bravery in a child.
2. They're Independent
Bravery and and a thirst for freedom go hand in hand. So if your child prefers to do things on their own terms, break out the blue face paint, because you've got a mini William Wallace. "Intrepid kids are independent children, and that's a good thing," Dr. Harvey Karp, a parenting expert, told Parents. "Letting them have extra time at the playground, for example, helps them feel like you're working with, not against, them."
3. They Just Do It
Behavior researcher Priscilla Dunstan told Parenting, "kids who express themselves physically and learn by doing are tactile." So if your child loves to splash in puddles, explore, and experiment, all signs point to brave.
4. They Take Baby Steps
When my son first attended swimming class (more like floating, really) he was very hesitant and eased into things bit by bit. I asked the instructor if this was an indication that things would be difficult she told me quite the opposite. She said that brave kids are the ones who take baby steps, because at least they're trying. It's the children who flat out refuse to try who might need a boost in the courage department.
5. They Get Back Up
Who knew Chumbawamba could be so insightful? It turns out that getting knocked down and getting up again is a sign of bravery. Greenberg told Psychology Today that being able to persevere in the face of adversity and get back on the horse is indicative of someone with a strong will.
6. They Test Things Out
Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University, told The Washington Post that brave children "learn things for themselves rather than accepting what others say, so they test the limits over and over." Even if it's frustrating to have your child constantly pushing boundaries, it's a solid indication that it has more to do with tenacity than tantrums.
7. Their Moral Compass Is Strong
You might think that having a little daredevil means you'll be sending them to plenty of timeout sessions, but it's actually their fierce sense of conviction that makes them appear so fearless. According to Time, brave kids "have strong gut reactions that they’ll battle for," and are, "are more willing to do what’s right."
8. They Have All The Feels
As my son has become increasingly social at his school, I noticed he was more emotional and not quite as fierce as he normally is. I talked to the school director and she assured me that in all her years in the education system, it's the sensitive children who feel — and feel deeply — who are far more resilient than those who don't show too much emotion.
9. There Are Plenty Of Quarrels In Your House
Again, some people incorrectly label bold behavior as disobedient or problematic. Though each child is different, there seems to be a common thread among all brave children which often lands them in detention. According to The University of Alabama's Child Development Resource, fearless kids "seem to lose the ability to hear the simplest requests, arguments are frequent, and defiance is the norm." But don't worry — that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them.
10. They're A Blur
Think of heroes from history and some brave explorers might come to mind. It's because of their drive to discover knew things that they weren't content with their own backyard. According to Parents, little explorers "are in constant motion because they thrive on and learn through movement."
11. They're True To Themselves
You've probably seen bumper stickers, shirts, and memes that say, "well-behaved women seldom make history," and it's pretty accurate. Some of the most iconic people wouldn't have attained their status had they not ignored they naysayers and stayed true to themselves. Greenberg told Psychology Today that courageous personalities have an innate urge to follow their passion, regardless of anyone's opinion.