The world can be a rough place, and so can the people in it. Parents have a natural tendency to want to shield their children from the things that might hurt them, but it is important that kids are informed and that they are compassionate people as well. You can’t control what happens in the world on a major scale, but as a parent you can help shape an empathetic and caring individual who can help make it a better place. In this day and age, raising a caring child can be difficult. Shielding children can help save them from some things, but it can also lead to ignorance and arrogance.
As a parent, there are some ways in which you can help make sure that your child becomes a caring individual and who truthfully cares about others as well. Children have an inborn capacity for compassion, which is why it is not uncommon for kids to empathize with other children, animals, and even stuffed toys. It’s important that parents encourage this kind of thinking and behavior, especially when the world can be so harsh, and promoting lovingkindness and other nice sentiments can help.
Showing not Telling
When trying to express softness, some kids can be a bit rough without meaning to. If a young toddler is trying to pet an animal or pick up a baby, their motor skills may not allow them to do so carefully. Instead of telling them not to show affection, show them how to do so in a way that is harmless and thoughtful. Simply telling children “no” can teach them to suppress the desire to express these feelings in the future. Instead of simply telling them “no” if you see them approaching a situation clumsily, commend their thoughtful behavior and show them how to act on those thoughts properly and carefully.
Sometimes, showing basic manners can go a long way. Speaking softly and showing kindness can help, especially if you act as an example for your children. Whether you’re talking to your kids or others in front of your kids, it is important that you set a good example and show compassion, thoughtfulness and understanding yourself. Kids learn by observing, so setting a precedent can certainly leave a lasting impression.
Whether you’re asking your children to help out with chores or pointing out ways in which they can generally be helpful, encouraging kids to get involved can be influential too. If kids are used to pitching in, especially if it is part of their daily routine, offering help to others when they see that they are struggling can come more naturally to them. You can also point situations where people may need help or could use a hand, and ask your kids how they can help and why they should. Inspiring this kind of discourse can help kids think critically and compassionately as they get older and develop thoughts and opinions on their own.
The Power of Stories
Sharing stories can be incredibly influential, and there are plenty of books that kids can pick up about people who have helped others in history. Aside from reading, share stories and anecdotes of your own as well. If you witnessed a kind act, share it with your child. If you notice someone doing something nice for someone else while you’re at the park or out shopping, point it out and ask your child what they think about it.
Helping Out Beyond the House
Volunteering is a great way to introduce kids to a larger world and the things that people can do to help make it a better place. Whether you’re helping collect food, toys for children, or picking up litter, giving kids a physical example of helping others can show them the benefits of kindness, compassion and taking action as well.
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