I’m a firm believer in the saying “kill them with kindness”. Being a recipient of un-kind treatment, I’ve never found anything constructive in stooping to low levels of un-kind reciprocation. And with all the violence, angry people, and even despicable actions we’ve been seeing in the news, being un-kind just adds to the bad news we see today.
Kindness isn’t something that is taught, but rather learned.I know what you’re thinking, how the heck can kindness be learned?It’s learned by the daily practices in how you live your life.It’s tough as hell being kind today.I mean, how many times have you had conversations in your head that you wish to tell (or do to) people, but you decide not to because you want to be the bigger person.BOOM!There’s your kindness learned. Or how about going that extra mile to not just say thank you, but to tell someone that you appreciate what they have done or given you.BOOM! More kindness learned.
Now, I’m still learning this as I go but I think I’m doing a pretty good job.Here are some tidbits that I feel are very important to teach my kids to earn and value kindness in their lives both in themselves and in other people.
Teach by example.
I’ve found that teaching with words is only a tiny portion of the influence you can instill in your little ones.Remember that childhood saying ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’?I think this fully applies here.Children will often times do as they see versus do as they’re told. With each act of kindness that you do, earns more acts of kindness that your children will do too.
Treat them the way you want to be treated.
This golden rule is key when instilling kindness in your children.When you treat your children with kindness, they will (most of the time) treat you with kindness back. Even when they are in the midst of a meltdown, or lash out at you continuing to treat them with kindness will teach them how to respond to others when they are being un-kind to them.
Say Please and Thank You.
Kindness can also be taught through manners.And what’s more simple than saying please and thank you.I speak to my kids this way, in hopes that it will catch on (which it has with my 3 year old) and will continue on throughout their lives.There’s something to hearing these two phrases that not only help to exude kindness in human interaction, but helps to attract kindness as well.
Use meltdown moments as a time to be constructive
Now, this one is one of THE toughest ones for sure.I still don’t have this one mastered, but I do find that when done consistently and efficiently, it can help to nip those terrible tantrums.So, do it with me… breathe, bite your tongue, and then proceed to explain in fewer words why something is the way it is.
Have them understand feelings
Communicating feelings in a healthy way can also help facilitate kindness, and even gratitude in your children.When a child can understand and communicate the way they feel, then they can take constructively harness the good feelings or accept the bad feelings.
Don’t allow violent shows at home
Now, I’m not about to get into a debate about screen time.However I do have to say that at home, I closely monitor what my children are watching.I do my damndest to make sure the shows they watch don’t have violence in them.Maybe it seems old-fashioned, but keeping them away from seeing the guns and fighting on simple children cartoons, like The Avengers can limit exposure to un-kind actions.
Instill God and Prayer
Every time we sit down before a meal, we say a prayer.We say a prayer to thank God for the sustenance we are about to receive, and to pray for others who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.Instilling prayer and God in your child’s life not only provides the humility, but also the kindness and compassion for others.
Do you know that my son encourages my daughter?How awesome is it to see a 3 year old encourage his baby sister to crawl, or place the shape in the right hole, or even eat?Creating an environment that your child feels they can excel helps to pass the buck on to other people.I even catch my son encouraging me telling me “good job mommy”.