Fair   77.0F  |  Forecast »

Teaching Kids to be Kind

Compassion is an important quality to instill in children; here's how parents can help to foster it

Since 1979 there's been a quiet epidemic proliferating in the crop of kids that followed Generation X. It's not a devastating cancer or a sedentary tendency. It's a deficiency. An empathy deficiency.

In a University of Michigan study analysts found that college kids today are less likely to look at situations from another point of view and more likely to focus on their needs above others. And in the last decade, it's gotten worse. Since 2000, they've seen 40 percent drops in empathy compared to counterparts from 30 years ago.

Startling, yes. But they see a couple sensible factors that have brought the problem to a head.

First, college kids today, coined Generation Me, have been told since childhood how special, unique and perfect they are in a push to boost self-esteem. Second, the rise in social media increases the ease of "turning off" friends when dealing with their problems seems like a big bother.

Luckily, there are ways to snatch your offspring from the no-empathy zone and help them become cool, kind and compassionate kids.

1. Start now. Kids are never too young to learn kindness, and they're more receptive than we realize. Encourage toddlers to be gentle and sweet with toys.

2. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Most kids, toddlers especially, need lots of encouragement and reminders to fully grasp a concept.

3. Don't be the doormat. Don't let kids spit in your face or grab your hair. Ever. Gently, but firmly tell them they may not continue with the behavior and never laugh, which can encourage them in the doing of such deeds.

4. Don't reward them for being kind. When kids think they're only being nice for a reward, it undermines the human compassion of the act.

5. Switch it up. When kids can't grasp why what they did was mean, ask them how they would feel if the roles were reversed. Once they feel those feelings, they'll be less likely to hurt people in the future.

6. Esteem only comes before respect in the dictionary. Don't focus on building your kid's ego. Their needs, wants and desires should not always come before others'.

7. Stand firm. Once you've decided on your compassion canon, regulate at all times. Even on their birthdays, make sure kids know it's still important to be kind.

8. D.I.Y. Don't expect teachers, counselors, grandparents or babysitters to teach your children to be nice. It's your job.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

From picking out ingredients to concocting their own culinary creations, here are a few ways to encourage your children to help out in the kitchen.

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Head to the park or on a hike and make the great outdoors your dinner spot. Here are six ideas to help you plan your meal – from drink to dessert.

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Want a few simple, fun sewing ideas for the kids, projects to brighten up their rooms or maybe just tips for DIY tinkering? These authors have you covered.

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

A father from Virginia claims a patch of desert in Egypt, calls it the Kingdom of North Sudan – just so his daughter can be the princess of this region.

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Parents might want to think twice before using this alternative to lotion sunscreen as the Food and Drug Administration investigates its potential risks.

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

If you're looking for a fun decorative summer vacation family project or two, these four blog picks will get you and your kids off to a great start.

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

Parents want to protect their kids from failing or getting hurt, but that's impossible. In fact, it's critical to let them take risks. Here's why – and how to raise a risk taker.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement