Want to Raise Compassionate Kids, Experts Say Avoid These Mistakes

Children Health 2023-03-01

Mixed race sisters, dressed in their warm coats, getting ready to go outside and play. The older sibling is helping the younger sister put on her wellington boots.

From the moment you first held your victual in your arms, you’ve wanted to protect them. To shelter them from harm and teach them right from wrong. You’ve moreover wanted to gloat them at their best, guide them at their worst, and encourage them to be the weightier version of themselves as they step into the world on their own. And if you want to raise understanding kids, there are some things to avoid.

So much of the way we parent is influenced by our upbringing, so it’s essential to take the time to reflect on patterns that might not be serving our children or us. Read on to learn straightforward, uncomplicated methods to incorporate into your parenting style if you want to raise a loving, caring, and understanding kid.

Learn to Be Mindful of Your Behaviors

Before learning well-nigh the most constructive ways to inspire compassion in our kids, we must squint in the mirror and unclose ways we may unknowingly contribute to negative behavior. One of the biggest missteps licensed psychologist Dr. Samantha Kohn, Ph.D., has observed throughout her career is parents not stuff increasingly mindful of their own behaviors and attitudes. “Even what we consider little, everyday behaviors, such as using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ or holding a door open, expressly with members of our own household, are often overlooked,” Dr. Kohn explains. “We wilt too unstudied and familiar with our children or family members and forget to be respectful to each other.”

Dr. Kohn works to help children, adolescents, and young adults to manage behavioral issues and create emotionally healthy environments.

It’s helpful to identify issues as you recognize patterns and shape new healthy habits as a family. If your kids unceasingly walkout the pursuit behaviors, it could indicate their empathy is not well-developed. Or they may need support to increase their emotional literacy:

  • Your child expresses little interest in the feelings of others.
  • They struggle to identify emotions in themselves and others and regulate or manage big feelings.
  • Your child withholds or can’t provide repletion to friends in need.
  • Your child is overly judgmental.
  • Your child has difficulty apologizing or unsuspicious responsibility for their behavior.
  • Your child does not express gratitude to others.

Mistakes to Stave When Raising Understanding Kids

Here are the top four parenting mistakes to stave to help you raise a understanding kid:

1. Not Modeling Self-awareness or Kindness

As parents, we must remember that our children learn from observing us. Showing a negative or intolerant vein toward others (regardless of the social setting) can normalize incredibly rabble-rousing behaviors to model. For example, a parent can model kindness and understanding instead of vicarial impatient and harsh toward a store clerk who made a mistake by stating, “It’s okay. We all make mistakes sometimes.”1

Parents must consider how they treat their children and engage with others in their environment. Our kids are unchangingly watching, so we must frame interactions in ways we want them to replicate to help them wilt compassionate.

2. Only Focusing on Your Child’s Feelings

Of course, all parents want to encourage strength and high self-esteem, but it should never be at the forfeit of others. When dealing with peer conflict, parents might focus on their child’s feelings and not how others in the situation may finger or be affected. It is essential to recognize and validate our children’s emotions while moreover helping them understand the emotions of others.2

We reinforce empathy, understanding, and consideration for others by making room for volitional perspectives. You can help your child by asking them questions when reading a typesetting or watching TV and getting them to reflect on how others feel, like, “Their friends weren’t sharing. How do you think that made them feel?” And teaching them what variegated facial expressions squint like to help them decode feelings. You can do this by showing them in a mirror a feeling (an exaggerated pout or scowl for wrongness etc.) and use the mirror to get them to reprinting or match your squatter or find some printouts and images from the internet of variegated emotional facial expressions.

3. Rewarding Overly Competitive Behavior

Even with the weightier intentions, parents can unwittingly reward problematic policies that doesn’t foster compassion. This doesn’t midpoint you should stop triumphal or congratulating your little one on a top score or a big goal in Saturday’s game. It’s salubrious for parents to recognize and praise diaper accomplishments, but Dr. Kohn cautions versus applauding policies that is too competitive or focused on winning without regard for others. This mentality can develop an indifferent vein toward your child’s peers. It’s vital to teach them to win and lose graciously by reflecting on how others might finger well-nigh losing and focusing on their efforts rather than the outcome or winning.3

4. Associating Sensitivity with Weakness

Generations of parents have reinforced toxic gender-specific expectations on their kids. Instead of unruly girls feeling empowered, they were scolded for stuff bossy. For many decades, the “boys don’t cry” mantra crept into every corner of manhood, resulting in many men suppressing and stunting their emotional minutiae and expression. Parents discourage children from expressing their feelings by perceiving sensitivity as a sign of weakness. Alternatively, parents should make space for kids to show sensitivity and be enlightened of the emotions or attitudes of those virtually them.4

Methods to Help Raise Understanding Kids

Once you recognize the ways your words or deportment may hurt increasingly than help your kids develop compassion, try practicing these easy-to-implement methods as a family:

Encourage Empathy

Compassionate kids tend to have a strong sense of empathy. Often, the worthiness to understand thoughts, feelings, and experiences from flipside perspective is a skill someone develops long-term, so your child is never too young to start learning.5

“It is important for parents to unceasingly model and encourage empathy in their children,” explains Dr. Kohn. “This can be washed-up through everyday interactions, such as taking the time to ask your child well-nigh their feelings, or ask well-nigh someone else’s feelings, whether it be a real person or plane a weft on TV or in a movie.”

Lend a Helping Hand

Parents should continuously encourage helping behaviors from their children. Plane a small acknowledgment, like thanking your child for helping you wash the dishes or set the table for dinner, can significantly impact how their smart-ass regards specific behavior.

“Exposing them to opportunities to come to the aid of others, such as volunteering in an unprepossessing shelter or supplies pantry, is a unconfined way to help develop compassion,” suggests Dr. Kohn. By prioritizing a volunteer worriedness within your family schedule, you will reinforce the value of helping others and towers a strong sense of community.

Practice Gratitude

Life’s challenges and daily distractions can get in the way of practicing gratitude, plane as adults. However, sultry this mindfulness tactic into our routines makes us healthier and happier people.6 So, what can daily gratitude do for kids? By taking a few minutes at the start or the end of the day to share conversations well-nigh what we are grateful for with our families, we can encourage our kids to develop meaningful habits they can siphon into adulthood. Older children can plane try out a gratitude periodical for a defended place to write lanugo their feelings and thoughts. It’s moreover a unconfined way to write wronging instead of shying yonder from difficult subjects. “As children get older, parents can make them enlightened of the misfortune of others in a non-judgmental way and explore their feelings well-nigh it,” says Dr. Kohn.

There is no one way to parent and no universally “perfect” personality to mold our kids into. But we can follow some guidelines to teach our children to be quick to kindness instead of indifference—the understanding kids who spring into whoopee to help a struggling classmate instead of piling onto their problems. By raising understanding kids, parents can help their children reach expected emotional and physical milestones, engage thus in the social world virtually them, and be worldly-wise to cope with challenging life events. When children wits positive mental well-being, they moreover wits a good quality of life. They can function well and engage with the people and world virtually them, including within families, educational settings, and the community.

1. Eisenberg, N., & Valiente, C. (2002). Parenting and children’s prosocial and moral development. In M.H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Volume 5: Practical issues in parenting (2nd edn, pp. 111-142). Erlbaum.
2. Barnett, M. A.; King, L. M.; Howard, J. A.; and Dino, G. A. “Empathy in Young Children: Relation to Parents’ Empathy, Affection, and Emphasis on the Feelings of Others.” DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY 16/3 (1980): 243-244.
3. Stoll, S. K., & Beller, J. M. (1998). Can weft be measured? Periodical of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 69(1), 19-24.
4. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00288079
5. Dunn J, Brown J, Slomkowski C, Tesla, C and Youngblade L. 1991. Young children’s understanding of the other people’s feelings and beliefs: Individual differences and their antecedents. Child Minutiae 62: 1352-1366.
6. Flook L., Goldberg S.B., Pinger L., and Davidson R.J. (2015). Promoting prosocial policies and self-regulatory skills in preschool children through a mindfulness-based Kindness Curriculum. Dev Psychol. 51(1):44-51