To Raise Brave Girls, Encourage Adventure

Inspired By  Caroline Paul
12 mins

Quick Summary

Gutsy girls skateboard, climb trees, clamber around, fall down, scrape their knees, get right back up -- and grow up to be brave women. Learn how to spark a little productive risk-taking and raise confident girls with stories and advice from firefighter, paraglider and all-around adventurer Caroline Paul.

Women are expected to be scared, that is why they often are. 

We need to be aware to not raise girls to be timid or helpless and it begins when we caution them against physical risk. The things we experience as kids, stay with us as women. Our hesitation in speaking out, being liked, our lack of confidence in our own decisions...

How do we become brave?

Bravery is learned and it needs to be practiced.

First take a deep breath and encourage our girls to skateboard, climb trees and clamber around on the playground fire-pole.

This is known as 'risky play' and studies show that this is important for all kids. It teaches hazard assessment, delayed gratification, resilience, confidence... When kids get outside and practice bravery, they learn valuable life lessons.

We have to stop cautioning our girls willy nilly. Notice next time you say 'Watch out. You're going to get hurt.' or 'Don't do that, it's dangerous.' Remember that often what you're really telling her is she shouldn't be pushing herself. That she's really not good enough, that she should be afraid

We women need to start practicing bravery too. We cannot teach our girls until we teach ourselves first. 

Fear and exhilaration feel very similar. The shaky hands, the heightened heart rate, the nervous tension. The last time you thought you were scared out of your wits you may of been feeling mostly exhilaration and now you've missed an opportunity. We all need to be practicing bravery too. At home, at the office, getting up and talking to someone that you really admire.

Guide your daughter to access her bravery when she is scared. Even if it is too risky, let her come to that conclusion through courage, not fear. 

This is not about the steep hill in front of her. This is about the life ahead of her. That she has the tools to handle and assess all the dangers that we cannot protect her from. All the challenges that we won't be there to guide her through. Everything our girls face in the future.

Ted Talk

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