I do not want him to focus on the unfair world, though. I want to help him focus on ways to be kind. But in order to do that, I have to show him more kindness.
Researchers who have been studying kindness have created a list of tips to help parents teach kindness. I like this list, because in order to teach it to your child, you have to participate as well. And if we are all acting with kindness, then we are all winning:
- Daily repetition. Sounds almost too easy, but it is true. Children who are able to demonstrate being kind or helpful every day, tend to display more of those behaviors on their own.
- Zoom in. Children need to feel like a part of something larger than themselves. I won't let my son watch the news, but I do want him to feel like a part of his community.
- Strong role models. That would be us parents. We need to show kind behavior and admit when we make mistakes. Our children need to see us as flawed but loving figures.
- Manage destructive feelings. We all get overwhelmed in life. But those of us who go for a walk, learn to release stress or have a creative outlet are modeling better behavior than those who let their feelings out at the dinner table.