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Teaching Your Child Kindness

Posted By Center for Mediated Divorce || 18-May-2015

While it may seem complicated and challenging to teach your children certain character traits, especially one like kindness, it is actually much simpler than you may expect. It all starts with you. The best way to help your child begin their journey towards developing their own kindness and empathy is by carrying out your own acts of goodwill.

How many times have you cracked down on your child to be nice or “kind to others” without even putting much thought yourself in what it actually means to be kind? Have you ever broke down this idea for your child and helped them get a better understanding of genuine kindness? How often do you demonstrate this kindness for them in regular life? Do you teach them blanket kindness for all people or balanced discretion? Of course, there must be some balance, but overall, kindness should extend to all individuals in normal life. From walking your child through kindness to showing them through example, there are numerous steps you can take to help grow their understanding.

Tips for Encouraging Kindness Without Confusion

No one wants their child to be the pushover who doesn’t stand up for themselves or the gullible kid that accepts offers of candy from strangers. That is why teaching your child to be kind, not just perform acts of kindness, is very important. Encouraging them to be kind with discretion should be a main focus of every parent.

Teach Kindness with Your Own Actions

In cases where a marriage is struggling, just recovering, or at the end of the line, showing your spouse kindness during all circumstances can be an incredible example to your child and help them truly grasp what it means to be kind. You can also lead the march to kindness by simply interacting with all individuals in a kind manner, even seeking to rectify any situations where you fail to do so, especially in front of your children.

Help Your Child Honor Their Own Feelings

Kindness should be understand as a choice, an action that should be genuine. If another child has been mean or begins to bully your child, help them understand that it is ok to feel upset or sad. While niceness may not always be required, they should not engage in being intentionally unkind. This is a distinct difference that can help them acknowledge their feelings without being stuck in the “trap of kindness.”

Perform Random Acts of Kindness from Time to Time

Doing random deeds of kindness shouldn’t been seen just a tool to teach your child, but as a means to help remind yourself the power that a simple and small act can have. Challenge yourself to buy coffee for the car behind you in the drive-through or help your neighbor bring their groceries in when their car is stocked full. It is not only worth the kindness you’ve given the other individual, but the lesson your child has learned by seeing their parent help to brighten a stranger’s day.

Ask Your Child Questions & Challenge Their Thinking

Teaching your child that having empathy for others can go a long way in helping them become a better person. Help them think through how they would like to be treated and continually review the idea of empathy—looking outside their own world to imagine what that other person must be feeling. Challenge them to explain kindness to you in their own words and to identify times where others were kind to them and times when they shared kindness with others. This can help develop a lifelong desire to be kind.

Have questions on how to help your child and yourself maintain kindness throughout a difficult martial situation? The Center for Mediated Divorce can provide additional insight at any time. Call us today to schedule a consult.

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