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.