How do you raise a “caring” child? Three simple tips.

This week I had a conversation with a parent who wanted some advice on how to help her child be more compassionate and to understand another person’s feelings. There is no one answer to this question, other than it takes time for students to develop empathy.

Every family is different and what works for one family might not work for another. There are many things that parents can do to help their children grow up to be good, moral people, such as teaching them right from wrong, setting a good example, and providing a loving home.

According to researchers, parents’ number one concern is teaching their children how to care. However, just how much influence do parents have in this area?

Following are some suggestions for our parents:

  • Children are more likely to respond positively to praise than rewards. If we want children to act compassionately, using rewards may risK making them think they only need do so when there is something in it for them. Praise let’s them know that cooperating and sharing are valuable things unto themselves.
  • It is better to encourage a child to have good character traits than simply telling them what actions they should take. When our actions become a reflection of our character, we are more likely to make moral and generous choices. Over time, these choices will become part of who we are.
  • When dealing with bad conduct, get people thinking about guilt rather than shame. Shame is the sense that I am a horrible person, but guilt is the feeling that I have done something wrong. Children feel ashamed when their parents become angry, withdraw love, and threaten punishments. Children who feel guilty tend to experience sorrow and regret, sympathize with the person they have harmed, and try to make things right. Say you’re disappointed when it comes to bad behavior. Expressing disappointment is an excellent way to communicate your disapproval of bad behavior, while also expressing high expectations and the potential for improvement. By doing so, you are effectively saying, “You’re a good person, even if you did a bad thing. I know you can do better.”
  • Children are more inspired by what their role models do rather than what they say. Children pay greater attention to what adults perform as opposed to what they advocate, according on studies. Nurture generosity by watching how your role models act rather than listening to what they have to say.

Raising a caring child is one of the most important things that parents can do. It is vital to set a good example, teach right from wrong, and provide a loving home. According to researchers, using rewards may risk making children less likely to act compassionately in the future. Praise is a better way to encourage cooperation and sharing. When dealing with bad conduct, it is best to get people thinking about guilt rather than shame. Children are more inspired by what their role models do than what they say.

Author: Dr Jake Madden

Jake Madden (Dip Teach; B.Ed; Grad Dip: Leadership; M. Ed: Leadership; EdD; FACEL; MACE) Dr. Jake Madden is currently the Principal, St Edward’s Primary School, Tamworth. He has enjoyed a successful teaching and principal leadership career over the last thirty years building teacher capacity through the development of learning in the contemporary world, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century learner and curriculum for global mindedness. Jake is a leader in the notion of teacher-as-researcher and is widely published in this area, authoring and co-authoring books and a number of journal articles showcasing his experiences and research into leading educational change.

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