Today, more than ever, it’s critical to raise a child who is sensitive to the suffering of others and who treats people with kindness. You can get started here.
When it comes to empathy and compassion, we’ve learned quite a bit in the past year and a half, from racial injustices to domestic terrorism to harassment and abuse.
And if you have children, it’s likely that they’ve heard about some of these disputes through social media. It’s possible to spot the silver lining in the cloud of uncomfortable viral videos and cruel social media posts, according to experts: They can provide families with wonderful teaching moments about compassion.
A child’s ability to form meaningful and long-lasting connections with others relies heavily on their level of compassion.
Many techniques can be used by parents to teach their children about empathy and compassion. This can be done by acts of kindness, such as delivering a meal to a neighbor who is ill. Encourage your youngster to look at the problem from the other person’s perspective if they are talking negatively about a friend.
The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a critical building block for other caring emotions, and it can be demonstrated in many ways. We can only be able to act on our empathy if we have learned to cultivate the virtues of gratitude, hope, and compassion.
The fact that youngsters can learn these healthy behaviors from their parents is also crucial to note. A study has found that at 12 months of age, newborns begin to provide comfort to those in pain, and by 14 to 18 months of age, youngsters begin to perform selfless helping behaviors.
Even though these responses are spontaneous, there are a number of things parents may do to aid in their children’s growth. Here are ten pointers from experts on how to raise a child that is kind and empathetic.
Demonstrate Compassion for Others
What is your top priority in teaching your children compassion and kindness? You have to be a living example of what you’re trying to convey. When people make mistakes, try to be forgiving.
Distinguish Between Face-to-Face and Online Communication
Even grownups have a hard time grasping the fact that a screen can’t always convey a person’s true feelings. It’s critical to instill in youngsters a sense of self-awareness about the limitations of internet communication from an early age. A conversation that should have taken place in person can easily turn sour when it’s conducted over a text message.
Disclose the importance of replying in a way that would be acceptable to them even if the person receiving their message was in the same room as them rather than on the other side of the screen. We need to explain to our children the dangers of saying or doing things that we might later regret on social media, and we need to do the same for ourselves.
The Permanence of Social Media should be emphasized.
It is important for parents to educate their children about the long-term consequences of publishing on social media. Even if a post is taken down, a digital record of their exchanges will remain. It’s important to know how to deal with these negative feelings in a healthy way, even though Romanoff acknowledges that they are common and acceptable. Here are her suggestions for parents and children:
1. Take a moment to think about what they’re feeling before acting.
Keep in mind who is watching you from the other end of the television. Ponder whether or not they’ll still feel the same way in five or ten years.
2. Show Your Appreciation
When people are more appreciative, they tend to give back and help others in the future,” Romanoff said. Gratitude should be modeled and practiced on a regular basis by parents, according to the author. Consider making it a tradition at meals to walk around the table and express gratitude for something each person has been grateful for throughout the day.
As a discussion starter, this is an excellent way to learn about one another’s days and to underline the importance of being thankful in everyday life.
3. Make this possible by educating your youngster to communicate their feelings through language.
Empathy for other people’s feelings can be developed by teaching your youngster to identify and describe their own emotions. Your preschooler may help by cutting out faces from magazines and newspapers, and gluing them to index cards, and marking the mood they communicate on the back.
Your child’s expressions will become more complex as he or she grows older, and you’ll be able to incorporate body language into the mix of facial expressions as well. Encourage your child to identify the feelings of the characters in the novels you read together.
4. Find Kindness in Others and Praise It!
Make a point of mentioning, “That was very kind of you to give them a few apple slices when you didn’t have too many,” if you see your child do this. I’m sure they were a little envious that you brought food to the park when they didn’t,” or anything along those lines. What impression do you believe sharing with your friend left on them?”
Keep an eye out for praising your child excessively for simple tasks, since this will not help foster empathy in your child. Over-praise is a deterrent, not a motivator. When children seek praise for minor successes, it interferes with their ability to consider the needs of others. So, instead of focusing on your own happiness, in the previous example, consider the situation (and consequently the happiness) of the other youngster.
5. Compassion is more important than happiness, in my opinion.
For many parents, their child’s pleasure is more important than anything else. Teaching children compassion and kindness to others may be at odds with this if it interferes with their own immediate satisfaction. Your youngster may wish to leave the sports team, but consider their obligation to the team and how much time they’ve invested. If you’re in a hurry, canceling their extracurricular activities may help you get to the root of their desire to go.
6. Take the time to raise a well-informed child.
You may be concerned that exposing your children to the harsher aspects of life will be too unpleasant. However, this is actually not the case. After seeing other people’s hardships, youngsters develop a deep sense of gratitude and self-worth as a result.
7. Affirm Individual Differences
Look for opportunities to talk about tolerance and respect in the workplace. As soon as preteens or teens encounter someone who is different from them, they don’t know how to deal with it because they were never given the tools to feel comfortable around children with special needs as youngsters.