As parents, we often reflect on whether or not we’re “doing it right”. We want so many things for our kids—we want them to be happy, educated, cultured, musical, driven, and the list goes on. Above all, however, we want them to be good people. To raise our children into solid, compassionate adults, we need to instill a deep-rooted sense of kindness from an early age. We have compiled a small handful of the many reasons you ought to be practicing kindness with your kids.
1. Practicing kindness opens the door to empathy.
Empathy, to paraphrase Merriam-Webster, is the ability to be aware of another person’s feelings, experiences and emotions through putting yourself in their shoes. We can all benefit from offering and receiving empathy, so beginning to understand such a concept as a child is ideal. When children are kind to others, they are fortunate enough to witness another person’s body language and facial expression transform into joy. To recognize someone else’s happiness is an excellent starting off point in understanding empathy. This also gives children the opportunity to notice when people are experiencing feeling other than joy and happiness. Children feel and acknowledge a range of emotions, so when they notice it in others, they can relate to them. That, my friends, is empathy. Moments of emotion recognitions, such as those, are the perfect opportunities to offer support through the practice of kindness.
2. Practicing kindness lowers the chance of bullying.
Bullying is, unfortunately, something that many children are exposed to through their educational experiences. Not all children are kind and not all children have examples in their lives to understand why being anything other than compassionate and empathetic towards one’s peers is unacceptable. Kids bully fellow kids for a multitude of reasons. Whether it be gender, race, developmental levels, social class, fashion, or anything else, being bullied never feels good. Due to your child’s newfound understanding of empathy, practicing kindness will make your child want to be a more compassionate person in their everyday lives. If more children focused on how they feel, how they want to feel and how they want to make others feel, bullying would drastically reduce.
3. Practicing kindness increases your child’s likelihood to stand up for others.
Your child’s enhanced relationship with empathy will not only make them want to abstain from bullying, but it will result in wanting to stop bullying, as well. Having lived an example of what kindness looks like, they will be more likely to notice when situations are unkind. Wanting to help make others feel better, your child will want to correct the cruelty they witness.
4. Practicing kindness inspires a healthy sense of self-esteem.
Practicing kindness makes children (not to mention, adults) feel caring and, thus, appreciated. People who are kind in their lives are more grounded in who they are and are, therefore, the holders of a deep level of self-confidence. By being effortlessly giving and a presenter of happiness, your child will feel important. The feelings of worthiness, importance and kindness are all healthy building blocks of self-esteem.
5. Practicing kindness improves your child’s relationship with gratitude.
Through the practice of kindness, children observe the gratitude of others toward them. By being kind, they learn what thankfulness looks like and are able to mirror it. While practicing kindness, children often want to feel gratitude to confirm that they played a part in bettering that person’s day. Through experiencing how it feels to be thanked, they will want to be more verbally appreciative, themselves.
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Stay tuned for more posts on kindness, compassion, parenting, confidence and more!
By Savannah Slone www.savannahslonewriter.com