An Interview With Bradley Abetya, Strength & Nutrition Coach on ways to nurture and flex your child’s bravery and courage muscles helping them to develop into confident young adults.
Bradley shared his top nine tips with us.
What is courage?
There is a difference between courage and confidence yet these two words are often used interchangeably and pushing oneself with continued acts of courage whether big or small builds the foundation of confidence over time.
Courage is to act despite hindrance of emotion, feeling fear or danger. On-going acts of courage builds skill and confidence, which over time and with repetition then leads to bravery which is being able to face danger without fear or emotions clouding judgement.
Parenting is a wonderful example of how parents act on a daily basis despite fear to make choices that nurture their children and create an environment where they can truly thrive.
Think of the first day of school, a child is nervous about being in a new environment, meeting new people and being away from you. Going to school despite those fears is a huge act of courage on the child’s part, equally so for the parent as they prepare themselves for longer periods of separation and all the worry that comes with letting someone else take the reigns. Over time, the child (hopefully) settles into this new environment and routine and the parent’s fears start to settle down leaving both parent and child with a slightly increased comfort zone and a sense of achievement at reaching an important milestone.
Teaching courage as children grow
As a child matures their courage develops over time, it doesn’t remain static so it is an important discipline to teach throughout the child’s developmental years.
At birth, a baby’s brain is hyperactive with development, already 1/4 that of an adult brain and by year 1 the brain reaches 1/2 its maturity. By the age of 3 the brain is at 80% and by the age of 5 it is at 90%. During this time, the brain is forming billions of connections for creating skills, problem solving, focus, attention span, social skills and motivation.
This rapid and important growth happens during a baby’s egocentric phase meaning the baby understands the world revolves around them and any elevated stress or lack of attention is essentially their fault. Ego-centrism peaks at about 18 months, widely accepted Jean Piaget’s Theory Of Cognitive Development says that they are egocentric until the age of 7 when they learn other people have separate views.
The importance of a nurturing environment is paramount for brain development as any stress can directly affect the development of a baby’s brain and neural pathways which can affect its ability to deal with stress, communicate and form relationships in the long term.
Bradley’s Top Tips for Cultivating Courage
1. Form a loving, supportive and trusting environment
Babies can learn bravery immediately, simply from feeling secure in a loving and nourishing environment.
As they grow children can be coached to build courage through simple daily things such as, turning a light on in a dark room, petting animals, trying new foods, speaking in front of people, making friends and even trying new sports.
2. Create moments and activities where courage can be used
Investing time in creating moments where courage can be used builds confidence and ultimately creates brave adults.
3. Praise and reward effort over skill
Focus on praising and encouraging effort over skill as this develops a growth mindset that helps to overcome challenges and obstacles.
4. Show them and lead by example
Kids look up to their parents like superheroes. As they grow up, they emulate what you do and hear what you say even though they may not show it all the time, their brains are growing sponges. So being a role model and leading the way is key.
5. Encourage them to be themselves
Being yourself in today’s world can be tricky but from a young age if this is encouraged, this is the ultimate tool for personal growth and confidence.
6. Educating young minds
Understanding and hands on teaching the difference between courage, confidence and bravery across all aspects of everyday life.
7. Skills and strengths are continually developed
Connections formed in the brain (just like muscles) if they are not used they become weaker so continual effort is needed to improve these connections.
8. Choose and encourage healthy role models
We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with growing up and throughout our life. So choose your children’s influences wisely if you want to cultivate bravery.
9. Healthy diet, daily exercise and good sleep
Good food, sleep and exercise are the basic, most effective ways to recover and support building a strong body and mind.
For more information on Bradley Abetya and his courageous stunts:
Email: [email protected]