In today’s generation where people prioritize happiness and self-fulfillment, raising caring children seems to be impossible.
According to a national survey, majority of young people value personal success—achievement and happiness over caring for others. So, how can parents raise children to have concern for others? A study conducted by the Graduate School of Education at the Harvard University has laid down four guidelines in raising children to become caring, ethical family members, workers and citizens.
Here are the 4 guidelines:
1. Give your children opportunities to show kindness.
Children are not born as “good” or “bad”. Their characters are developed depending on their experiences and how they respond to each of them. Give your children opportunities to show kindness, like sharing a meal with a friend or assisting an elderly. With constant practice and exposure, children would be able to learn to be helpful and caring to others.
2. Teach your children to “zoom in” and “zoom out”.
Children need to learn how to “zoom in” by being attentive to those who are in their immediate circle, and be able to “zoom out” by being open and looking at a wider perspective. Exposing your children to people or things that are unfamiliar to them would help widen their perspective.
3. Expose your children to strong, moral role models.
Teaching by example is the most effective way of leading children. There is no pressure to always act perfect when we are with our children. However, parents need to consistently practice values and habits we want our children to adapt to.
4. Help your children manage “destructive feelings”.
It is challenging to care for others when we are overwhelmed with destructive negative feelings like anger, shame, or envy. Although these feelings are normal and okay, we need to teach our children to cope with them and guide them in managing these feelings in productive ways.
It sure is a challenge to raise children who can show genuine concern for others in a generation which defines success as personal happiness. However, with the right guidance and support, our children will be able to become caring and ethical members of the society.