How to Raise a Caring Child
Are you troubled that your child speaks unkind words or doesn’t care about causing hurt to others? Do you think he lacks a sense of empathy? Here’s how to help him be caring and compassionate.
By Arun Sharma
It is the duty of all humans to be caring and compassionate towards their fellow beings. For your child to grow up into an individual who feels and shows concern for others, you have to teach him how to care. Caring is not just about showing kindness, it is also about following principles that do not allow hurting others. Here’s how you can help your child develop a caring attitude.
- Model a caring attitude: During early childhood, children usually model their behaviour after their parents. While your young child may not understand your lecture about the virtues of caring behaviour, he can certainly understand it when you model it yourself. Therefore, adopt a caring approach. And, every time you show care, explain your actions to your child to help him understand your behaviour and follow your approach.
- Establish empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand others’ emotions. Having an empathetic nature helps an individual understand the feelings of others and connect with them, and support them. To begin teaching empathy to your child, discuss with her the various emotions, like sadness, anger, and happiness, that are a part of human nature. Also, teach her how to understand these emotions when others around her display them. If your child is young, you can help her understand by showing her images of various facial expressions of these emotions.
- Enlist help: Children are always eager to help others; in fact, most of them try to do their bit without even being asked to. Call your child to help you with simple household chores like arranging books on the shelves, folding washed clothes, or placing the dishes in the sink after meals. Helping you around the house will help in instilling a helping attitude in your child. As he grows up, this will become a part of his character, and he will get into the habit of extending a helping hand to those in need.
- Encourage kindness: Every once in a while, we read or get to hear about how an act of kindness by a stranger helped someone greatly. While reflecting on the incident, we also wish that our children would grow up to be like that kind stranger. Use everyday opportunities to teach your child to be kind to others. For example, while waiting to cross the road if you find an elderly person who may be in need of help, encourage your child to enquire and extend a helping hand.
- Practise charity: Children have a strong sense of possessiveness and most of them are averse to sharing what they consider to be theirs. However, with a little motivation and encouragement, you can teach your child to part with his possessions for the benefit of others. But, instead of forcing your child to give, begin by motivating him to part with his belongings. Reminding him about how happy he feels when he receives something he is fond of and telling him that he also has the power to make someone feel happy like him will encourage him. Make him take his first steps towards charity by asking him to donate his old toys that no longer fascinate him.
While almost all parents want their children to be altruistic, most don’t know how to develop and promote altruism in their child. It would help parents to remember what the Chinese philosopher Confucius said — “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
Parent need to understand that it is always easier for children to understand and learn values by following examples and taking part in activities that promote such values. So, along with setting an example yourself, provide your child the opportunity to indulge in activities that help him learn altruism.
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