Charity warns parents why they must let their children take risks

New research from BES reveals that 92% Brits say healthy risk taking is crucial to boost self-confidence. Furthermore, research reveals that taking healthy risks earlier in life aids in developing essential life skills needed to become confident adults.


•             80% of 18-24s and 69% of 25-35s described themselves as risk takers

•             87% wished they would take more risks


According to new research conducted by British Exploring Society (BES), young people who have been given the chance to take healthy risks experience a positive impact on their personal and professional growth later in life.  Being a healthy risk taker not only allows young people to become more confident (44%) as they get older, but also to become more spontaneous (34%), have more enriched life experiences (33%) and become psychologically stronger (30%).   The acclaimed designer and entrepreneur, Henry Holland agrees: “I’ve learnt and earned my way through taking risks, and approaching things in a way that feels right to me.  You need to be confident.  For every career decision that I have made and business I’ve run – I’ve learnt on the job. No specific training or education and I’ve always considered that a blessing. Why? Nobody ever told me how something should be done, and equally they have never told me how something shouldn’t be done!"

“Working in creative fields you can over think things and get frozen with indecision.  You have to be brave, believe in yourself, put yourself out there, and say – I think this is great - and that’s when you can achieve great things" added Holland.


The research from BES also shows that young people associate healthy risk taking with bravery (49%), confidence (53%), increased physical and psychological wellbeing (35%), and being able to deal with challenging situations (51%). These are all essential skills for a happy and successful adult life. However, when surveyed, young people don’t think they are learning these key skills until they are adults, with the average age being 21.


CEO of British Exploring Society Honor Wilson-Fletcher MBE commented: "Since I’ve been at British Exploring Society, I’ve noticed lasting changes in resilience and risk appetite in young people and their families. We commissioned research to find out whether our experience reflected a national picture because it’s our job is to prepare young people with the confidence and self-belief to live happy adult lives.’’

Nearly one-third (32%) highlight that they start to face challenges, where they feel as though they might fail and/or struggle with trying new things that challenge them between the ages of 16 and 20. This is also the age where over half (51%) said they stopped relying on their parents/carers and started taking risks for themselves.


Young people who have been given the chance to experience healthy risk understand its benefits and want more of it. While 43% said they know when to take risks, 35% said there are some situations where they know when it is ok to take a risk – but there are still lots of occasions when they say they don’t know whether it is wise or not.  Despite knowing the importance of experiencing healthy risks, it is only natural for parents and carers to want to protect their children. Quite often they find themselves wrestling with their own fears and uncertainties, which is why letting go of the reins can be difficult and unknowingly, they may pass their apprehensions onto their children by encouraging a cautious and risk-averse mindset. This is reflected in the research as three-quarters (75%) of those surveyed feel that parents’/carers' anxieties about risk taking can impact their risk-taking abilities.

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