Raising a Compassionate Child
17 Feb 2017
“Parents teach their children how to care by giving it themselves”
As parents, now more than ever, we know that it is important to raise and nurture our children with empathy, respect and compassion for others. These are wonderful attributes that will shape our child.
However, nurturing these values in our children, of course, is not a walk in the park or attributes you could pick up from assessment books. So, how can we as parents do our part to instil these values of compassion in our children effectively?
- Compassion is caught, not taught.
We can ‘teach’ our children an infinite number of ways to share and show compassion to others. Our children mimic the behaviour they see and grow up with. If we do not exhibit such behaviour, it is almost impossible to expect them to do the same.
Children look up to parents as their primary role models and moral compass, so it is essential that we keep check of the way we are to others. So the next time we are interacting with our parents, children, friends, relatives or even the ‘auntie’ serving you at Mcdonalds, be mindful of how we care for others.
We can teach our children about the value of care all we want, but if we don’t walk the talk, they will not be able to ‘catch’ it.
- Start at home!
Start caring for people at home – your spouse, parents, children, helper etc. Ask them about their day, show that you care for their needs, and remember to be kind despite their mistakes. Making mistakes is part of life and what is important is how we learn from them. Use them as an opportunities to teach and learn together with our child.
Teach them how to appreciate little things, and get them to speak an encouraging word to each family member every day. It doesn’t have to be long, but if they do it frequently, it will help to change their perspective. A little bit of effort a day, goes a long way!
- Take action together!
We are all constantly pressed for time, but it will definitely help if we take time to slow down and do something together with the children. Whether it is to volunteer at an organisation, visiting the grandparents or an elderly relative, get them involved and remind them how we all co-exist harmoniously.
‘Actions speak louder than words’, so show them the spirit of kindness and generosity and take action as a family!
- Be reflective
How we talk on daily basis about our day, siblings, parents, relatives and friends tells our children a lot. If they hear us say something negative about our parents, they will learn that it is okay to speak like that.
In your pursuit to nurture a compassionate child, be reflective not only to them but to yourself too. If you are unhappy about something they have done, verbalise your thoughts rationally and explain the consequences to your child. They will benefit from understanding and learning from their mistakes. .
There is much joy in nurturing and seeing your child grow up to be a fine young man and lady, so take every opportunity to grow together as a compassionate family!