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Resilience 101: How I am Raising Strong, Brave and Curious Kids

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Nexcare Brand. All words and opinions are my own.

When I was growing up in the Bay Area, we played outside constantly—climbing trees, making up games, riding bikes, you name it. My parents pushed us to go, go, go, to get out there, explore and be curious. With their guidance, I grew up with a fearless spirit that took me from the mountains of Montana to the bustling streets of New York City, then to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles, to most recently moving my family to Austin, and exploring a million places in between.

That’s something that I’m trying to instill in my three kids, too: nurturing in each of them a brave spirit that will inspire them to live authentic, independent lives. Teaching them to be fearless is definitely a work in progress for me—like any parent, I can’t say that I relish the moments when they scrape their knees or fall off their bikes— but falling down is part of  this crazy thing called parenthood.

As my partners over at Nexcare know, a full, well lived life comes with some bumps, bruises and #ToughLove along the way. I know my kids become more confident and self-assured every time they learn to pick themselves up after a fall, only to find that they’re climbing higher, riding faster and loving both their successes and failures equally.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my advice for building resilience in kids. These are the things I try to keep in mind with my little ones, and hopefully some of them will ring true with you, too:

Don’t be afraid to fail. I make sure that my kids know that failure is not only okay, it’s simply part of life. Instead of focusing on the negative, I try to instill that failure is a great way to learn a lesson. It helps them to build confidence and to know that no matter what obstacles come their way, they can face them with strength and grace.

If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. The hardest thing after a failure is to get back on the horse, so to speak. Even if it’s something as small as getting a math problem wrong on their homework, I encourage my kids to give it another go—and instill in them that not trying at all gets you nowhere, where trying at least gets you somewhere. Trying is the first step toward becoming fearless.

The great outdoors are your friend. I mentioned earlier how we were always outside growing up, and I make sure that my kids get as much fresh air as possible. These days, there’s the temptation to let them play on screens for hours on end—but there’s nothing quite like the joy of discovery in nature. And exploring the great outdoors naturally feeds kids’ curiosity, bravery and toughness. I even try to make fresh air time a family affair and sometimes, I’ll even go for a quick run with them while the kids ride their bikes.

Hard work builds character. My family is very fortunate. We live in a great city, we’re able to travel and we have a wonderful support network. But my husband and I have both had to work really hard to get where we are, so we make sure our kids don’t take the things we have for granted. I’m a big believer in responsibility, so my kids have been taught that if they want something, they have to work for it.

Be true to yourself. I say this for both parents and kids: I’ve always found that the best way to lead your children is by example, so I try to be authentically me around my kids as much as I can. I’m open and honest with my children, because I think that they, in turn, will learn to be open and honest with themselves and others. That’s the first step toward being authentic and independent so hopefully my kids are on their way.


So, to celebrate life’s cuts and scrapes, I’m doing a giveaway where 1 winner will receive a Ninja Kit and a supply of Nexcare bandages! Entry details are up on my Instagram, so head over to my platform by clicking here. Good luck!


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  • Mikayla Oelschlegel

    When you’re too early to the blog post so the giveaway link isn’t up XD

    But I love this post! I grew up with my mom telling me to go outside and play as well and now with four younger siblings, I can see my dad and step-mom trying to instill that in them as well but it’s so hard in today’s world where everything is online. I am hoping that they still learn that being outdoors is the best cure for anything though.

  • Jam

    Dear Gen you’re so inspiring!! I’m looking for great human beings in the future. I had a good childhood, playing in the mud, playing soccer with my brother like Tom and Shep, I was a little boy, I didn’t like dolls and girls stuff. Haha, good times ?❤❤

    • Jam

      Forgive my english mistakes guys, I’m not fluent in this language ??

  • Sabrina Travers

    I love this post! I try my hardest to avoid screens and bring my little girls outside. I see so many parents just throwing their phone or iPad at their kids. While that may work for them it doesn’t for us. My oldest who’s only 3 doesn’t know how to work any electronics while kids her age can use iPads. But I’m ok with that. She’s only little once,I want to enjoy it before electronics take over her life. Enjoy your summer!


    This is truly inspiring!! And everything you have said gives positivity and good vibes in my life. All you advice and words about be true to yourself, to lead my example, courage, bravery and toughness, is beautiful and I loved how you put it all in words so you’re kids can understand. Also the way you say that trying brings you to be fearless makes me feel incredible and capable of achieving what I’m dreaming of. But your words about failure are terrific! I really think that way when I fail at something. But my parents don’t think the same way, they lose their minds if I fail at things. I’m and I wish they could understand that I’m learning, not failing.

  • Jordy

    These photos are so good! I really love your photographer. I also appreciate how even your sponsored posts and so personal.

  • Autumn

    I love this!!!!

  • Antoinette

    So nice to read, I could have written it myself, my kids are adults now, 18-20 and 22 and we also instilled all these lessons into our kids, we got many cuts and bruises and even broken arms. Sometimes I did not even dare to watch but they survived and it takes them into adult hood as a strong individuals and we still encourage them to enjoy life, do what you love best, explore, learn. It is a real reward when your kids tell you what a great job you did as a parent and that they appreciate you even more now they live on their own…so Gen, something to look forward too… but first …Stop and smell the dirty diapers! time flies.

  • Elise Corinne

    I have many photos of my self in pink princess dresses playing in and covered in mud. My dad taught me and my two older brothers how to drink out of the hose on the side of the house (still do sometimes…) and his favorite phrase was “rub some dirt on it!”; until when I was four and actually did rub the gravel on the side of the curb on my knee, my mother was horrified and had to wash it out. All this to say, I absolutely loved my childhood and am so refreshed to see that it is continuing on in the newer generations. I see videos of Odette on your Instagram and she and I totally share the same personality, and with her having two older brothers as well, we are in the same shoes, she can do anything her brothers can and she can do it better because she can do it pretty and in pink! #girlpower

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