15 Ways To Raise A Brave Child

Ad failed to load

Parenting isn't a spectator sport. Raising a child takes work — both physical and mental. In today's world, it's easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of challenges children have to face. From bullies, to body shaming, to stereotypes, kids certainly don't have it easy. But as parents, it's our job to find ways to raise a brave child, especially in a society that doesn't do them many favors.

There's no doubt that every child is different; some are naturally more brave than others. My 2-year-old, for example, tends to be hesitant to be away from me or try new things, while my 10-month-old could care less if I'm within shouting distance from her. Age and personality have a lot to do with bravery, but there are countless ways that we as parents can teach even the clingiest of kids to be a little bit more independent and confident.

Whether your child is two or twelve, it's not too late to start instilling a sense of self-confidence and bravery in them. Kids are naturally born with a sense of adventure and curiosity and it's our responsibility to them to show them how to wield it in a world that can be scary.

Ad failed to load

1Let Them Decide

Louis Marina/ Flickr

Choice is a huge part in raising an independent child. You can't force bravery. If your child is nervous to jump in to a new friend group, give them time to decide whether or not they're ready on their own. It will create a positive association with new-ness, instead of a negative one.

2Don't Hover

Bryon Lippincott/ Flickr

An article from Kids Health notes the importance of giving kids "the opportunity to try something new, make mistakes, and learn from them." Obviously, supervision is still necessary, but letting your child play on the playground without you or giving them the ingredients to make a sandwich without jumping in to clean up the mess, for example, will give them confidence that they can do things on their own.

3Let Them Explore

Jay/ Flickr

Similarly, letting your child explore not only new places, but new ideas and ways of thinking will teach them how to make decisions for themselves.

Ad failed to load

4Lead By Example

Stephan Hochhaus/ Flickr

You are ultimately your child's biggest role model. Try new things in your own life. Show them that stepping outside your comfort zone is healthy.

5Be Their Anchor


An article from Parents explains the importance of establishing yourself as a "safety zone" for your child. When they're trying new things, make sure they know that you'll always be right behind them.

6Read Them Inspiring Books

Books are some of the greatest tools for teaching kids. Integrate some bravery-themed books into their bedtime routines, allowing them to soak in the confidence boost.

Ad failed to load

7Teach Them To Stand Up For Themselves

Marjan Lazarevski/ Flickr

"It takes bravery to stand up for what you know is right when everyone around you isn't taking the high road," Robin Westen wrote in Parents. Teach your child to be confident in who they are and to stand up for right and wrong from a young age. The pattern will continue as they get older.

8Use Brave Language


Incorporate empowering language throughout your day by encouraging your child when they excel and telling them it's okay to fail.

9Mix In New With The Familiar

nvainio/ Flickr

Kids do better with gradual change. Even something as small as introducing a new food along with one of their favorites can encourage them to try new things.

Ad failed to load

10Value Their Feelings

and the rest/ Flickr

Showing your child that you value and acknowledge their feelings, even when they're not feeling particularly brave, will establish you as a safe place and teach them self-control and self-confidence.

11Remind Them It's OK To Be Scared

Photosavvy/ Flickr

If your child is nervous to try new things, help them acknowledge how they're feeling. Teach them that part of being brave is trying things even when we don't feel like it.

12Let Them Fail

Jesse Millan/ Flickr

As a parent, it can be difficult to watch our children fail, but its a crucial part of good parenting, explains an article from Empowering Parents. Be it something as simple as a scraped knee or a failed math test; it's tempting to save them the pain of failure by doing hard things for them. Ultimately, though, it discourages independence.

Ad failed to load

13Praise Them For Little Things


To help counteract the pain of failing, praise your child for excelling in small ways. Did they finish all of their dinner? Tell them you appreciate it. Did they share a toy with a friend? Tell them they did the right thing. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.

14Socialize Them

guilherme jofili/ Flickr

If your child tends to be clingy or nervous when you leave, let them practice by introducing them to new people. Let them know that you're not going to leave but that it is okay to make new friends.

15Give Them Time

dadblunders/ Flickr

Bravery won't happen overnight. Be patient with your child. The most important thing you can do is be there for them. Even when they're not feeling brave at all, knowing that they have you rooting for them will give them courage in due time.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills