The difference between children and adults is that adults know better and it’s us, the adults, who are raising the children. Therefore, in most cases, the behavior of rude and inconsiderate children is a result of what they are learning from their parents at home.
Personally, I do not want to be responsible for turning young adults out into the world who only think about themselves and don’ t care about the people surrounding them. These are not the people who are going to further their communities and help make a difference in the world. So, as a parent, what can I do to raise kids that care about others?
1. Show compassion. Think about it. How are children supposed to learn how to be compassionate towards others if they are never shown compassion? I have to admit, I have found myself being less than compassionate towards my children from time to time. Like the time, my son ran into the slide in our backyard because he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going. Instead of asking if he was okay, I laughed and said, “you’re okay – brush it off and get back to playing.” Yes, my son was okay and I could tell he was by the way he was acting, but he didn’t necessarily feel that way right at first. If I want my children to show compassion towards others, then I have to be careful as to teach them what compassion is through my actions.
2. Help those in need. I do believe that it’s important to help those in need, but this isn’t something that I have always felt strongly about. I can remember my mom always taking the time to help those who needed help when I was young, but as a young child I would get annoyed because it was keeping us from the fun things we had already planned. However, today I can see how much she cared for others by the way she took the time to help those who needed it. And, she taught me the importance of helping others by helping others in front of me. While many of us donate money and other tangible items to those in need, how many of us take the time to stop what we’re doing and help people when we are on our way somewhere – with the kids in tow? Show your kids what it means to help others in need because this is a learned behavior.
3. Don’t give them everything they want. It can be difficult to tell our kids “no” when they ask for something that we know they would enjoy, but it’s important that we don’t teach them that they get everything they want just because they want it. I recently saw a story about a teenage girl who was trying to sue her parents because they refused to continue paying for her private high school education (they stopped paying because she refused to abide by their rules). The girl was trying to get the judge to order her parents to pay for the remainder of her high school education and her college education. Thankfully, the judge ruled against this girl, but the issue to me was that this girl felt entitled to get what she wanted. This isn’t okay. When kids begin to feel entitled to things, they get very self-centered and become rude and inconsiderate of others. One of the only ways to prevent this from happening is for parents to not give in to their children’s every whim. If there is something that they want then show them how they can earn the money to buy it – don’t just give it to them.
4. Talk kindly to one another. For some reason people tend to take the people they care about the most for granted, yet treat others more respectfully. If you want to teach your child to care about others and their feelings, you have to start by treating those at home with more respect. Talking kindly to one another (at home, as well as, out in public) is one of the best ways to instill an attitude of respect in your children because they learn how to treat people by watching how you treat people, especially by how you treat your spouse and your children on a daily basis.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you have any additional ideas for how parents are to raise children to be kind and compassionate towards others?