How to Raise a Compassionate and Kind Child
If anything, compassion, kindness, empathy, selflessness, are values that humanity needs today. Are these really not the emotions that make us human in the first place? In today’s world, newspapers are daily full of reports of hatred & violence, and there is a general remorse in society for the golden values of the previous era. The present society is always looked upon with sadness and longing to go back to times when people were kind to each other. So how do we go back to those golden values? To fulfill any larger aim, we must focus on the smaller steps. What are these smaller steps then?
It is truly said that children are the flagbearers of the society. What they learn in their childhood is what they are going to live with. The values they learn will define their whole generation. So, to ensure a caring, kind, loving society, it is our own children that we need to begin with. And more than that it our own selves. There is no rocket science behind saying that our children learn from us; our daily actions, our behavior towards others, our beliefs, it all gets passed on. So, how do we ensure that are children become loving and compassionate? The answer is simple- we ourselves imbibe those values.
The article tries to cover some ways or provide some tips that can help in raising a compassionate child, above anything else.
Showing empathy towards other people
One of the ways in which children can be taught to be compassionate is to lead by example. In our daily lives, we ourselves must empathize with other people’s problems. We should always take keen interest in the lives of people around us and think of their problems as our own. So, when Kriti next door is sad and has not eaten anything for the whole day because someone in her family is ill, we must make it a point to sit with her and console her. We must also talk to our children about how she might be feeling or how would they feel in the same situation. Such acts cultivate the feelings of compassion in the children.
Another way could be to encourage children to write thank you notes. Every time someone in the family or outside goes out of the way to do something for them, we must ensure that we make them write thank you notes sharing their genuine gratitude towards that person. The notes should be personal and not written because it has to be written. The children must themselves feel that they need to write a thank you note because someone did something special for them.
Setting certain standards of behavior
A lot of things that our children will learn will be from the daily routine and behavior being followed in the home. So, even in our everyday lives, there should be certain standards that we must carefully observe. For example, the domestic help in the family should always be treated with respect; children must be taught to help & care for them. Another example could be to teach our children to always listen to other people’s problems rather than enforcing their own wishes upon them.
Encourage polite and just behavior
One of the things that really need to be kept in check is the competitive attitude of the children. While there is nothing wrong in being competitive, children can be swayed away by the desire to win or excel at all times. With constant competition, everywhere and the premium that is put on winning, children can be driven by the desire of doing well. In doing so, they might end up taking actions that are bitter in taste. This is where we need to draw a line. We need to tell them that even though doing well is important, it is equally important to be fair and just to others. We need to encourage values of fair play, honesty, respect, friendliness, etc. at all times. In evaluating their performances, these values should be equally placed among others. Even if the child loses out on something, we need to tell them that they were fair and honest to their opponents, and that is a great achievement.
Promote certain activities
Within the house, there should be certain activities/behavior followed consciously to inculcate values of kindness. However, they need to look seamless and not staged. It could be expecting them to help you in keeping utensils in kitchen after a meal, or talking to them about how the security guard at the society gate works so hard all day and yet never complains when someone wakes him up from sleep at night. Some other activities that promote kindness could include telling them to clean their rooms, volunteering for social causes etc.
There could be no way one could highlight all that is required of us to ensure that children become kind, compassionate and loving. It is not a task that requires a time frame & steps to follow; rather it is about genuinely wanting your children to become better human being. In doing so, we need to be mindful of our own behavior. We cannot expect from them something that we ourselves do not observe. It is as much about us being kind & compassionate as it is about them.
The above point also leads to taking a keen interest in the lives of our children. To ensure that they become kind in their behavior cannot be just about mechanically following a certain regime. It requires a lot of talking and developing a bond of trust with them, to the point where there is no difference of opinion in certain matters. The child needs to know that in helping her mother, she is doing it because it is the right thing to do, not because she is being forced to do it. As long as it is thought of as a command, the task will fail to achieve its desired result.