What has prompted this article about raising kids with kind hearts? As usual, my writing is inspired by personal experience. This morning I had three people tell me how proud they were about “telling someone off”. Really? I’m glad I didn’t raise them. In my book, working things out with others gets you much more respect than making them feel like crap. Whatever happened to kindness and consideration for the plight of others? When did it start being OK, or even praise worthy to belittle others? Is there anyone out there who wants to raise kind, decent kids anymore? If so, here’s how to do it.
Set an example. Do you remember the old saying Monkey see Monkey do? I’m not calling your kids monkeys here, but they will take after you, no matter what they say. Kids who grow up in a home filled with love and kindness are simply more inclined to be kind themselves. Kids who grow up in a household that condemns others, will do the same. Do try to be understanding of others, especially if you live with or have influence on children. Your good example will go a long way toward growing a generation of kind hearted people.
Set the bar high. While it’s true kids are imperfect beings, that’s no reason we shouldn’t demand kindness from them. So many parents place emphasis on social skills, yet so few kids know how to be kind in a social setting. Getting along with others isn’t about who grabs the biggest slice of pie. It’s about giving up your dessert so someone else can enjoy their dinner. Be a household that concentrates on building good character above all. Expect kindness from your kids and they will deliver.
Talk to your kids about equality. How futile are the efforts of any individual who spends hours upon hours bad-mouthing anyone who doesn’t look, talk, act or believe as they do? How about those who work to control and convince, rather than to understand and accept? Kids who believe in equality are inherently kind to people. Teach kids to look for common ground through your own understanding that no two people are exactly alike. Find joy in diversity and you will encourage unity.
When you see someone being unkind, express sadness. How many parents have you seen laughing it up over the suffering of someone they disagree with? Set the opposite example. When you see something on the news or TV that seems cruel or unjust, say so. Don’t just chalk it up to the state of the world. Make the world better by raising kids who know the importance of kindness, consideration and empathy for the plight of others.
Empathize, don’t criticize. You know that neighbor who brings property values down with their unkempt lawn? Avoid the temptation to report them to the HOA. Maybe they’re disabled. Maybe they can’t afford a mower. Why not take the time to find out? Better yet, next time your kids are mowing your lawn, suggest they offer to help. Want to raise kids with kind hearts? Get one of your own. It never fails to work.
More from Jaipi:
Teaching Kids to Entertain Themselves
Teach Kids to Cherish the Small Things
Parenting Miss – How to Raise a Drama Queen