A few days ago, one of my boys, visibly angry walked into the house. A few of his friends were making fun of a boy who couldn’t score a goal. “How can they be so mean?” was his question. The truth out there is brutal. Kids can be mean.
As parents, we would want to shield our kids from these people, but somewhere down the line, they’ll encounter them. But our hope is that our children will be kind and good people. When there is a need to help others, we hope that they will do so selflessly. We hope that they won’t be intolerant, or prejudiced.
Are you raising a kind child?
Raising a kind child takes not just patience but loads of setting examples! If you want your child to be kind, ensure that you practice what you preach. Here are small tested and tried ways that can help you raise your child to be a better human, which really is the need of the hour today.
Do small kind deeds
If it means to set an example, do that. My boys watched me as I helped an old lady cross the road. As soon as I got to the car, I was bombarded with a dozen questions.
“Do you know her?”
“Did she ask for help?”
“How did you know she wanted to cross the road?”
“Why did YOU help her?”
I turned around to ask them, what they would have done. “I don’t know, you have told us not to interact with strangers.” Fair enough! We’ve taught them to never interact with people they don’t know, but there is a workaround to this. Allow your children to help others when you are around. As they grow older, they would be able to help others selflessly because they know it is the right thing to do.
When was the last time you thanked your children for something they did? “Complimenting children can help them boost their self-esteem and when they see you doing it, they will understand that it is genuine. What may seem normal, can be a wave of kindness for a complete stranger. And it is this kind of selfless act of kindness that we need in this world,” says Puja, an occupational therapist who works with a varied set of children on a daily basis.
Let them work together
Do you assign chores to your kids? I do. Whether it is a simple act of making the bed, cleaning their desks or sorting out the clothes in the cupboards, they need to learn to work as a team and pitch in so that they can help others at home too. And well, isn’t it the right thing to do? Everyone in the family is helping each other out. Helping others teaches the children another aspect of being kind. And when they do reach out to help someone else, they’ll know that there is no barter involved there!
Make them know the difference
One thing that my boys learnt really early in life was that people were not bad, only their actions were bad. Let your children know about the good things that are happening around them and show them videos about people helping others to get your point across. If you want to reinforce kindness, look out for cuttings from a newspaper that mention about people who volunteer to collect clothes or help people rebuild their homes after a natural disaster. These small things will make your child feel good about the world they live in.
Lead by example
Kids learn from their parents, so ensure that you follow a good example. Learn to be a positive influence so that they can emulate your behaviour. Whether it is about being polite to others around you or speaking positively about a community or a religion, ensure that make your children understand the reason behind your choice of words or your actions.
A few days ago, my son’s classmate’s mom mentioned to me casually how my son gave his spare lunch coupon to hers because her son forgot to get his lunch. When my son got home, I made it a point to appreciate his kindness by letting him know it was the right thing to. When you recognize kindness, you are reinforcing positive thinking in your child.
Let you children know that being kind to others is something they should feel good about. Kindness helps you to take away focus from your issues and helps them to connect with others. Teach them that kindness is actually the new cool!
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