Being kind is like a virtue, a quality which helps you think of others and act to make a difference. Well, that’s my interpretation. I have two children. One is 4 and one is 14. When my boy who is now 14 was around 4 yrs old he found it very difficult to share. As a first time mother I was horrified. I set out to understand why my son couldn’t bring himself to thinking about the other person. It seemed as though he had no inkling of how his little friends felt when he did not want to share with them.
In today’s world it seems like everyone is obsessed with themselves and kindness seems to be put to the bottom of the pile. It is believed that too many parents care more about their child doing well in school than they care, about their child being ‘kind’.
It seems to be a little bit strange that a child being kind doesn’t feature at the top of the list in what parents really want for their child. It is strange because kindness facilitates ways to make a child feel happy. According to Jessica L. Cotney and Robin Banerjee 2017 they indicated that confidence, joy and pride are experienced by the giver of kindness. I believe this is why a child needs to learn to be kind.
Kindness is not just beneficial to the receiver of kindness, it is beneficial to the giver. If a child is to be well rounded and mentally resilient in the strange world we live in today, it is important that they are taught kindness.
Let’s look at these three important feelings mentioned earlier which are important to our mental health.
- Confidence in oneself is very important to children as they need to be able to trust that they can ‘do it’. They can make good choices and do well in life.
- Joy is important to release the happy chemicals in the brain. When a child is kind these chemicals are released and your child will be a happy child.
- Pride in having shown kindness to someone else, allows that child to take responsibility for doing or saying something that makes someone else happy.
All these feelings and emotions are felt because we are all human beings. We are innately good. If as parents we do not teach children to be kind this ability to feel confident, joy or pride can be diminished and ways for your child to develop into a good human being is taken away and their mental health can be severely impacted if they grow up thinking it is ‘all about them’.
So back to my son. Why did he not just share? I thought I was a kind person. Although we are innately good we do have to work on suppressing the bad. We need to learn good behaviour. I therefore had to make a conscious effort to teach him to share. When he shares even now, I reinforce good behaviour by congratulating him. Our job as parents is to help our children learn to be kind because it will help them to be that good human being we ourselves aspire to be.
Ben Learns to Be Kind supports the kindness conversation. Buy now.