4 Tips For Raising Kind Kids

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Are You Teaching Your Kids To Be Kind?

BY AMANDA HALE

A recent study at the Harvard Graduate School of Education focused on those factors that help encourage the development of kindness in our children. The results are a little alarming.

What values are you teaching your kids?

What values are you teaching your kids?

Over 2013-2014, researchers interviewed 10, 000 kids in the US. Nearly 80% said that their parents taught them that personal happiness and high achievement were more important than caring for other people. Young people were three times more likely to agree than disagree with the statement: “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my class than if I’m a caring community member in class and school”.

Do we really want to raise our kids to be more concerned with happiness and success than compassion? Here’s 4 tips for teaching kindness to kids.

Tip #1: Help Kids Practice Kindness

Kindness is a skill like any other that can be developed through practice. Helping your child practice daily acts of caring is a big step towards nurturing their capacity to care for others. Point out how watering the plants helps them grow, or how helping a friend or family member is important. Help point out the signs that might mean someone needs help, and how they can best act on that.

Tip #2: Teach Your Kids to Zoom In + Out

To be kind to others kids need to learn to zoom in to listen closely to other people and understand their concerns, and zoom out and have the ability to see things from other people’s point of view. Help your child to practice these skills by modelling.

Tip #3: Be A Role Model

Lead by example. Be honest about your mistakes and teach your children that they don’t have to be perfect. Take stock of what you’re teaching your kids through your actions Remember kids will learn as much from what you do as from what you say.

Tip #4: Help Your Child Manage Destructive Feelings

Teach kids to recognise the feelings that sometimes get in the way of being kind – anger, jealousy, shame. Help your child understand that it’s ok to feel this way, but feelings like this don’t have to get in the way of kindness. It’s possible to feel angry and still act with kindness anyway.

Amanda Hale is a registered psychologist and a Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) Candidate at the Australian National University. She enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults, and specialises in anxiety, depression, eating disorders, weight management and interpersonal and adjustment difficulties.


 

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