No matter the circumstances, we need to remember that kids are not intentionally trying to cause harm; they lack the intuitive feelings of empathy and compassion that we parents mistakenly assume they possess. If you want to model these feelings, here’s how:
1. Be Communicative to Your Kids
When you have a problem or a concern, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell your children how you feel and listen to how they’re feeling. It may sound counterintuitive, but being open to your children’s feelings will actually help them feel better about themselves. Also, if you want to teach your children to empathize and be compassionate, you have to put those feelings into practice.
2. Take the Thou Shalt Not Out of Your Vocabulary
If your child disobeys, don’t just punish them and call it a day. Here’s a better idea: focus on the positive and choose to elaborate on what they’re doing right. Punishing only reinforces don’t do this, but praising reinforces do this. Throwing in a thank you goes a long way as well.
3. Be Consistent About Being Kind
Children learn from repetition. Teach them to be kind to other people and animals, and then be consistent in reinforcing your behavior with them. When they act in a manner you disapprove of, ask them to give you a specific example of when they exhibited that behavior. Then you can teach them how to correct that behavior and mold them into the caring, compassionate people they’re meant to be.
Next time your child acts callously, remember that you aren’t the only one who cares. If you are overwhelmed, ask for help. But most importantly, don’t forget to practice patience and be consistent in your approach with your children.
4. Be Involved in Family Affairs
If you want to teach your children to be compassionate, get involved in family affairs. You can help them with their homework or just spend quality time with them. For example, if your child is into a hobby, like playing a sport, join them in their practice. Playing a sport with your child is a great way to teach them the importance of teamwork, commitment, and perseverance.
5. Be Their Best Example
What you do and say matters most. Whatever your children learn from you, they’re likely to repeat in the future. That’s why it’s so vitally important for us parents to be mindful of the example we’re setting for our children. If we want them to be kind and caring, we must model that behavior.
Remember that the best way to teach children empathy, compassion, and kindness is to lead by example. Being a loving and compassionate person is the best way to teach your children kindness and love.
Children have a lot to learn to become compassionate, empathetic, kind, and good people. We tell kids not to be that way because we want them to grow up to be good, so the most helpful thing you can do for your child is to help them learn to be the best person they can be.
If you want to teach your child to be compassionate, then help them do that. If you need to spend more time with them, do that. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should be the only one doing it, because if you have a great partner, then your partner can do this too.
St. Aloysius Regional School is a Catholic faith community of academic excellence, offering classes from Pre-K through eighth grade. We are a catholic school in Springville, NY with a culture and a curriculum designed to strengthen spiritual and emotional maturity, develop a strong moral character, and cultivate the skills for successful learning. Let your child grow up in the Catholic faith and become a leader with the confidence to make a difference in their ever-changing world. Get in touch with us today!