This is one of the most common questions my child psychologist friends get. It's also such a personal question - what even makes a child kind or generous? There's no magic parenting rulebook though! Raising good kids is hard work, but some honest rules have helped me raise both my kids who are now all polite, respectful, sweet-hearted kids (who also now talk back to me, but that’s another story). I will try and share tips that have worked well in my house. I hope they help you too!
The age old balancing act is a lifetime endeavor for parents. To protect our kids from life’s blustery winds, sometimes we wrap them with so much padding that they can’t feel the effects of their actions. Other times, perhaps because of difficult circumstances in their home lives or society at large, children are not afforded the same protections and have taught to be ‘survivors’ or that they must fight aggressively to survive.
Have you considered what if your child is being bullied or has witnessed bullying? Teaching your children to stand up for themselves and for others in class in a way that’s also kind and generous. You can teach your kids to challenge bullies, by being kind and respectful to them yourself. The first lessons on these begin at home!
My husband and I have tried to raise our two kids with a high self-esteem from a young age, instilling in them the idea of giving instead of taking. But being kind is about more than simply being charitable. It's about being understanding and helpful towards others, even when it doesn't benefit us directly. So how do we impart into our children this lesson? By teaching them how to be kind and do what is best for others even when it is not easy or convenient for us. Giving can be hard. It often feels much easier to take than give. They say that karma will come back around to reward you in the future but it doesn’t help at the time of weakness. So even though your child has learnt the lesson on kindness, they may flake out in a crisis. But by telling them stories of children who have overcome their natural desire to give up, you are teaching them that by pulling oneself through one’s own strength is just as valuable as being given a helping hand by someone else.
As a parent, have you ever told your young child: Do not raise your voice. Do not scream. Do not point. Do not be aggressive or competitive. And they’re like, ‘Really?!’ Some kids can seem very polite at home but then lose it the moment their mother turns her back.
We have to do what we can to raise kind and generous children, and it does begin at home. And in the process, you’ll be building a cycle of goodness that has positive impacts on all of those around you. Simple things you can do to promote these important qualities and more in your child.
Teaching by example is what matters
The bottom line is that the more compassionate we are, the better we will be at protecting ourselves from others who harm us. The more our kids hear about the importance of kindness and compassion, and the more they see their parents (and siblings!) practicing this, the more likely it is that they will be kind, thoughtful and generous with others!
It’s important to help kids recognize their emotions, and giving them the words to describe what’s going on inside of them. And it’s just as important not to allow children to be cruel to one another, even in fun or jest. In between there is a happy medium and the job of mothers and fathers is clear. Love your children but teach them how to live and raise them right!
Perhaps the most important takeaway from this article is simply to act in an encouraging manner. Kids respond fairly well to indicators that they’re making progress towards their goals. And while they can’t spend every waking hour pursuing their interests and hobbies, it’s important that the time they do spend is meaningful and productive.
I hope you’re excited to get started! I also hope this was useful and that you share it with your friends. Click right here to our page to send the link!
Have you read: Parenting Failures