Kindness is easier to pass on to children than any other character trait, and kindness in the home will help you to teach your children.
Those are the findings of a recent study by the universities of London, Westminster, Vienna, and Bern.
Researchers discovered that kids whose parents modelled helping and caring for others, were more like their parents than those whose parents promoted more selfish values like power and achievement.
Children Learn Best When We’re Kind to Them
Families expert Dr Justin Coulson told Hope 103.2 that kindness was easier to pass on, because it fosters a better environment for learning.
“When we are kind, we develop a good relationship with our child,” he said. “And that means our child is more likely to listen to us and learn from us. Children learn best when they feel safe and they experience joy.
“They tend not to learn particularly well when they’re afraid or angry. Our kindness facilitates their learning.”
Three Ways to Model Kindness
Some of the best ways to model kindness to your children, are also the simplest, although sometimes easier said than done. Dr Justin advises parents to smile, speak softly, and be compassionate towards your children.
Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by
“The first thing is just to smile at your kids,” he says. “We spend a lot of time looking very, very serious. We take this parenting business pretty darn seriously. If we can just smile a little more that’s a really good start.
“Always speak softly. There’s no need to yell.
“And look on your children with compassion. Your children really need you to be compassionate. They need you to recognise that it’s hard, they’ve got their L Plates on, and sometimes they’re just not sure what to do. When they feel compassion from you, the sense that you want to understand and you know that it’s hard, it’s incredible how well they respond.”
Kind Gestures Leave a Lasting Impression on Kids
Dr Coulson recalls a time when he was just 7 or 8, when his father stopped to pick up a man who had passed out drunk in the middle of the road, and drove him home to safety. It spoke volumes to the young Justin about how to act towards others.
“I remember it profoundly and deeply,” he said. “My dad modelled kindness. I don’t know if I thought it then, but I’ve thought it many times since: that’s how I want to be, I want to look out for people like my Dad does.
“We’ve got to be the family that does the cookie drops or takes a meal over, getting to know the neighbours, hosting the neighbourhood Christmas party. It doesn’t really matter what we’re doing, if we are looking for ways to be kind, our children will see that example. They’ll learn from it and grow up to be kind people.”