It is difficult in today’s violent society, to teach our children to empathize with people and to understand how others feel. For parents, teaching kids to be compassionate takes time, skills and an enormous amount of patience and efforts. Just like you teach your child to ride a cycle or tie shoelaces, you need to teach your children to be compassionate, kind and caring while they are growing up. Here are a few parenting tips that will help you instill the value of compassion in your children:
Encourage children to give and donate
Involve your children in the charitable work you do. Encourage children to donate their toys they have outgrown and clothes which they no longer wear to the kids who cannot afford these things. On occasions such as Christmas or Thanksgiving, ask your children to give away some of their toys, dolls etc to the kids who are less fortunate.
In fact, actually take your children to a charitable organization where they can themselves hand over the items to the kids. Seeing other kids feel happy upon receiving those toys will make your child understand the joy and value of being compassionate.
Importantly, you must make your children understand that donation or giving away does not mean disposing of waste items. In fact, to realize the pleasure of giving, give away items which are in good condition and you find them of value. After all, a shirt which is torn or a toy train which is broken is of no use to anyone. So encourage your child to donate those items which he/she may have outgrown but are in good shape.
Ways of being compassionate
Being compassionate does not mean only donating. It also means spending time with elderly people, helping a blind man cross the road, helping the elderly find their way in a crowded area, comforting someone in distress, being friendly to the new child in the class, being polite to the waiters, helping your neighbors and other such pleasant gestures.
Compassion also means being kind and caring to animals, not only your own pets. Once you teach your child to love animals and consider their feelings, you will find your child taking the lead in protecting even stray animals from getting bullied by the neighborhood children. Compassion builds the foundation for trust and respect. Only when you experience compassionate living, do you truly learn to love and respect others. Also, when you help your children learn to be compassionate, you are also safeguarding them against behavior problems.
As a parent the best way to instill these values in your children is to practice them yourself. When your children notice how you love and take care of your own parents, your children will learn to follow in your footsteps. Encourage your child to spend time with his/her grandparents, go out with them for walks and be with them when they are in need.
Have conversations with kids
Parenting children does not only amount to providing for their daily needs. It is vitally important for every parent to develop and nurture a healthy parent child relationship where you can freely discuss with your children about life wisdom such as the joys of giving to others, the pleasure in being compassionate, the fulfillment of spreading love.
If your child is not being friendly to a new student in class, tell him/her to imagine how would he/she feel if he/she was in that person’s place? How would your child want to be treated by others? The point is to make child understand that everyone has feelings and we should not hurt anybody’s emotions. Once your child learns to view the world from the other person’s point of view, he/she will develop a loving, considerate and compassionate nature. This is an essential need of healthy child development. If you don’t instill these values from a tender age in your children, it might be too late to learn when they are grown up.
All living creatures have feelings and being kind to them will only make you feel good. Help your children to know that they can create a better world by being gentle and compassionate toward others.