How to Raise Brave Girls

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day and the theme for this year is #BeBoldForChange. Perhaps that is the reason why I see a lot of encouraging posts on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks to those encouragement posts I discovered this TED talk by Caroline Paul.

Her talk was short but was packed with such an inspiring message. As my blog post title suggests, her talk is about raising brave girls.

I wouldn’t divulge the details of her talk, but merely share key takeaways from it. I wouldn’t want you to miss how she shared her experiences as a firefighter and a paraglider pilot.

Bravery wasn’t a trait expected from women. To be blunt we were expected rather we are expected to be damsels in distress, we are seen as fragile beings. But this really shouldn’t be the case. In her talk, she shared how this mentality was often ingrained in our systems unknowingly from the time we were toddlers. Words such as be careful, watch out, stop, and no are often exclaimed when little girls try to do something risky. Boys do hear those too, but girls hear it more. To this, I was hit with a sudden tinge of guilt. See I often exclaim the words be careful to bunny whenever she tries to climb a chair or basically do something I deem is risky. How often? To the point wherein she know exclaims the words be careful when she is playing.

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Taking a step back, I realize that there really was no need for me to say be careful or no to her. She was just being a toddler, as my husband would say. She is discovering the world around and her, perhaps telling her to be careful is too much.

Further in her talk Caroline also shared four things that can help raise brave girls.

The first is risky play which she deems is really important for kids. Now, this is the first time I’ve heard of it so I consulted Google. Turns out it is a type of play that kids should be exposed to. It is defined as

A thrilling and exciting activity that involves a risk of physical injury, and play that provides opportunities for challenge, testing limits, exploring boundaries and learning about injury risk.

(Sandseter 2007; Little & Wyver, 2008)

The reason why it is important is because it helps children learn how to assess situations, know how risky it is, and how they can deal with it.

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Second, Caroline shared that we should cease cautioning girls. Doing so will make her feel that it is okay to not push herself and push boundaries.

Third, we ourselves should practice bravery. For me personally, as a mom, I should become an example for bunny. I don’t need to jump off a plane to give an example of bravery. What I can do instead is take risks and speak up for my beliefs. I think this would be easy for me because I do have a knack for taking risks, I just assess situations as much as I can. I also like trying extreme activities. Maybe one of these days I can teach her the different types of rappelling, I was an instructor once.

Water Rafting @ CDO

Water Rafting @ CDO

Lastly, we should guide our little girls to access their bravery when they need it. There will be times when a task would be too much for them or a play too risky for them. We should help them with that task or help guide them in their play. We have to remember that one day, we will not be there when they face a tall situation. Guiding them now can help them face their challenges in the future braver.

Caroline’s message was loud and clear: you have the power to raise a brave girl. Encouragement is key, as well as being an example for her. Let her experience life with bumps and bruises because ultimately it helps her become a brave individual ready to face challenges along the way.

 

15 comments

  1. Marcie W. says:

    As a mother of two preteen girls, I absolutely love the points you shared from Caroline’s talk. I try to discuss subjects such as empowerment, strength and body positivity with them on a daily basis!

  2. Jessica Harlow says:

    As a mom of 3 girls, I absolutely love your post. I couldn’t agree with you more that being an example of bravery doesn’t mean you have to jump out of a plane…simply standing up for your self, speaking up, and being confident are all great ways to show bravery!

    • denice.diaz says:

      Thanks! Sometimes, people think the bravery needs a big leap of faith but really we just need to speak our minds.

  3. Cynthia Nicoletti says:

    I have to say the best way to raise a young brave little girl is with lots of love and guidance. My daughter is now 25 and she is an amazing woman. Being a parent is not an easy job but always be there for your children.

  4. Elizabeth O. says:

    It would be so awesome to see brave young women in the world. That’s what we need to see more. I try to make sure that my girls grow up that way.

  5. Carol Cassara says:

    That talk is amazing! We are trained to keep quiet and act as we’re told and expected but that’s not what we’re about. Women are strong and we can do so much more than what we were trained to do. Being brave should be a trait that we teach the younger generation.

    • denice.diaz says:

      Agree. We really can do anything we put our minds too. The younger generation really should be taught that it is okay to stand up for what they believe in, that it is okay to express themselves.

  6. Natalie says:

    I loved this year’s theme – I came across so many inspiring posts! I have bookmarked this page to watch the TED Talk, it sounds super interesting!

  7. Krysten says:

    I never really thought of raising brave children. It was never what came to the top of my mind, but after reading this it makes so much sense. If I had a daughter I would want her to be brave and to chase her dreams and needs and wants.

  8. Wanderlust Vegans says:

    I would hope that everyone would be raising their girls to be brave.. It saddens me that we live in such a society that you felt you needed to write this article. I really hope that people learn something from this and raise all their children to be empowered, brave girls.

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