No person is born with mean traits. That said, none come into the world as kind individuals either.
Compassionate traits need to be encouraged and nurtured as children are raised. It’s not enough to assume that they’ll tap into an inherent sense of ‘goodness’ when it matters. After all, many people are almost complacent about kids being mean to one another, thinking these situations are normal.
More can be done here. Responsible parents know that they need to actively raise a compassionate child rather than simply will one into existence. So, what tips and techniques in raising kids are most effective here? Is there anything more you can be doing? Here are some tips to help you raise a compassionate child.
Treat Your Own Parents Well
Teaching your child to respect elders and care for others isn’t always easy. Your lessons will also be undermined if they can’t recall instances where you led by example.
If your parents are still around, use your relationship with them as a model for how others need to be cared for. Call your folks up, ask how they are, invite them round for meals, and enjoy family outings with them in tow. Celebrate each other’s presence, include them in activities, and minimise tensions wherever possible.
You can take things a step further, too. If your parents are ageing and need help, you and your kids could visit and help out. Perhaps you can do chores together or simply keep them company? You’d be teaching your kids that they should always be there for family and nobody gets left behind.
When you’re helping ageing parents, you could also outfit their homes with the disability equipment that Adapt a Home provides. Everything from stairlifts to rental products can be secured at fair prices here. There are also planned preventative maintenance and servicing options available, ensuring your folks stay in the homes they love for as long as possible. If your kids see the lengths you’re willing to go to, then it sets a strong precedent for your overarching family dynamics.
Volunteer as a Family
While helping family is important, generosity should not only be extended to those in your immediate circle. After all, kindness isn’t a selective experience, and most people are worthy of yours.
There are many family group volunteering opportunities across the nation, allowing parents and their children to roll up their sleeves and work toward a larger cause together. Your kids have much to gain from these experiences. They’ll meet different types of people, make friends, and learn new skills. It can broaden their worldview enormously.
Moreover, it can also expose your child to some of the harsher realities in society without it being filtered through something disorientating like social media. If your child is witnessing firsthand what the power of compassion can do, it can set them up for a kinder course through life.
Volunteering together also means that, once again, you can easily set a precedent for compassion in your family. It proves that you’re willing to practice what you preach rather than merely bark orders out. That counts for a lot when teaching principles to your kids, so keep that in mind!
Promote Diversity Awareness
Diversity is a crucial part of today’s global conversation. Everyone should be part of the dialogue in their own way.
For kids, you can teach them more about cross-cultural importance by introducing them to new films and television shows that celebrate differences. Remember that the media can consume their imaginations. Even mainstream powerhouses like Marvel Studios celebrate diversity in their titles, so encourage your kids to engage with such content.
Away from entertainment, things like museums can provide enlightenment. Take a trip and tour around these offerings. As your child builds their awareness of other people and places, they can use that knowledge to fuel their sense of compassion.
Lift Taboos Around Thoughts And Feelings
It might be unrealistic to assume that your child can be compassionate toward others if they cannot first be compassionate toward themselves. If you notice little progress in the strategies listed so far, it may be because your child isn’t being kind to themselves.
Sadly, some kids may bottle up their true emotions in unfortunate circumstances. They may not even have the skills necessary to fully articulate what they’re thinking and feeling. Of course, this doesn’t mean that their emotions should go unchecked.
Open up the floor for your kids to speak about anything that’s bothering them. Be compassionate toward your children at this important juncture. Let them know their thoughts and feelings are valid, and that sensitivity can be good. Once they’re on the receiving end of kindness, they may better understand and respect its effect on others.
Be patient during this time. For instance, if your child confesses to doing something wrong, refrain from interrupting their explanation to scold them. Give them room to express themselves without restrictions, and they may afford the same courtesy to others in future and hone their patience.