As a father of two daughters myself, I get it. It's hard to not want to protect them at every twist and turn of life. But often, when we're protecting them, we're actually holding them back from being truly remarkable.

So what should we encourage in our daughters to ensure they'll be brave?

Risk-taking.

According to author, firefighter, paraglider and all-around adventurer Caroline Paul, when we encourage girls to take risks and explore new adventures, we help in the development of gutsy girls who will grow up to be brave women.

See her compelling TED talk here:

Risk-taking is innate. We're born with it. Boys AND girls. Rolling over as infants. Crawling. Taking first steps. So, where does it change? It's when the adults get in the way.

The words "risk-taking" alone are scary. But life is scary, that's what makes it exhilarating. As a society, we treat risk differently when it comes to boys and girls.

We tend to caution our daughters more than our sons. That caution, that overprotection, is what signals girls early on to think that they're not brave enough when indeed they are. That they're not good enough when they are more than enough.

We owe it to our daughters and the next generation of women as a whole, not to deny them of the bravery that's inside of them just waiting to blossom and burst.

Need some more reasons why they need risk?

Confidence.

The more risks they take, the further we encourage them to go outside of their comfort zones, the more they see what they are capable of. Their confidence grows along with their dreams of endless possibilities.

Fear.

Yes, that's right. Let them do it for the fear. We're not talking monsters under the bed fear, this is the type of fear that fuels greatness. Letting them experience that moment where they press forward through something scary and then come out of it feeling accomplished and motivated.

Analytical thinking.

Encouraging them to take risks early on gives children the opportunity to access risks and manage situations. They analyze the situation and make a decision based on facts and their gut.

No matter how old your daughters, sisters, nieces, friends kids may be, the next time a risky situation comes up, instead of cautioning them, tell them to "go for it."

The way that they handle it will be nothing short of amazing, and you will have played a part in raising a new generation of gutsy girls who will one day be some seriously brave, badass women.

Published on: Mar 22, 2017