Researchers found a gap between what parents say is important and what actually is.
A recent study called ‘Making Caring Common’, conducted through Harvard University in the US involving 10,000 children found that ‘a large majority of youth across a wide spectrum of races, cultures, and classes appear to value aspects of personal success—achievement and happiness—over concern for others.’
They also found that this may be down to a gap between what their parents say is important over what really is ‘About 80% of the youth in our survey report that their parents are more concerned about achievement or happiness than caring for others.’
If this is something that resonates with you then you will be happy to hear that they also came up with 4 ways to shift the balance resulting in kinder children.
Practice makes perfect allow children the opportunity to practice being kind to others. According to the survey ‘Children are not simply born good or bad and we should never give up on them.’ They should be encouraged to do acts of kindness on a daily basis to help others.
Kids need to learn to “zoom in”, zoom out”, This means understanding that they should listen and attend to those who are close to them, friend and family. They should also be able to look at a more broadened perspective such as what is happening in their local community.
They need strong moral role models. This doesn’t require us to be perfect human beings however it does mean being aware that we make mistakes and acknowledge. We should also show an ability to mirror the ‘zoom in and out’ techniques.
Children need to be guided in managing destructive feelings. According to the study ‘Often the ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings. We need to teach children that all feelings are ok’. It is important to teach our children how to deal with these feelings.