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Raising a Kind Child in an Unkind World

By Mei Yee

As a parent, I know I worry about if my children will be kind to others. They know that I do not tolerate bullying, and they know they don't like when others hurt their feelings, but does that mean they will automatically be kind?

The answer is no; this will not always be the case. So how can we as parents make sure that our child stays kindhearted in a very unkind world?

The main thing we can show our children is to be an example. Are we kind to others? Our little ones look up to us and follow what we do. We need to make sure we are setting a good example. And I will admit I do not always do that. We are human and will make mistakes from time to time.

That is something else we need to keep in mind. Children are human too and have bad days. However, we need to teach them that doesn't mean they can treat others poorly. I have tried to instill in my children that yes, you can apologize but sometimes saying sorry isn't enough (depending on how you hurt the person).

However, if your child is having a bad day, talk to them about it. I do understand it is hard to sit younger children down and ask what is wrong. But for older children, show them some compassion. Do not yell or force them, even if they are being difficult. Just let them know you are there for them.

Sometimes we are setting examples for them without even realizing the impact it has. We think it is something normal until we see our children doing it. Like when the children get hurt, say your child scrapes their knee. If it is bleeding, you put a Band-Aid on it.

One day my arm got scraped by a nail sticking out of the doorway. My four-year-old instantly ran for a Band-Aid to put on for me as I have done for her. "There, all better, mama." That is what she said before going back to what she was doing before.

When children do things like this, I think we should let them know it is kind of them and thank them. They will feel good about being kind and be encouraged to do it more. I say this because I have seen children show kindness to adults, and the adult dismisses it.

But have you seen a child's face when you say "thank you, that was very nice of you"? When I worked in a daycare and said this to children showing kindness, their faces lit up. When I say this to my children, they say, "it is because I love you."

Love and compassion help build up kindness. I think if we show our children these things, they will learn to be kind.


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