There is so much information about motherhood, it can be discouraging to figure it all out. The Harvard University Making Caring Common Project cuts through the noise by recommending parents follow a set of guideposts to raise caring children. Here are three of our favorite points:
1. Be a strong role model
Your child is watching you and will copy what you do and who you are in the world with others. We forget this until we see our behaviors in our children, and not necessarily the most stellar ones.
That means we need to be kind, respectful, and fair to others. This must be taught by parents to children. Learning how to be an ethical and kind friend will serve your child throughout their lives.
Also, be willing to admit your mistakes, make amends with your child, and practice fairness, honesty and good self-care for your child to emulate. It is alright to be an imperfect parent because – guess what – there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
2. Spend quality time with your children
Sounds obvious, but in this fast paced day and age, parents often find themselves counting the hours spent at home watching TV, on cell phones, and playing video games as time together.
What’s more important is scheduling time together to talk about your children’s lives, how they feel about their peers, school, church, and whatever else may be on their mind.
Or you could participate in their hobbies – or help them find a hobby. This is not a time to talk about your own experiences as a child, but to listen carefully to what your child is communicating.
3. Teach appreciation
Children who learn how to appreciate what others do for them, what they have in life, and what their blessings are will be more likely to become compassionate adults.
They are also more likely be happy and healthy. Isn’t that exactly what you want for your child? If you give praise for kindness, please remember to ask the child what it is like for him or her to be kind to others and let them struggle to give the answer. Don’t answer it for them. This builds a reward that comes from within; one that does not depend on another’s noticing and praising them for kindness.