Why are some kids compassionate from an early age while others seem to become more self-involved and narcissistic every day? Some of it has to do with personality and temperament, but an awful lot of it has to do with how you raise your child and the characteristics that you model to him.
There is no reason for any child to be so self-involved that he canâ€™t empathize with others, canâ€™t honor othersâ€™ boundaries, and canâ€™t see other peoplesâ€™ needs. It isnâ€™t just immaturity and he wonâ€™t necessarily grow out of it.
Compassion and empathy are almost extinct these days. We live in a world where crimes are carried out with other people looking on and no one does a thing to stop it. People donâ€™t know who their neighbors are or even what they look like.
Most of all, we are so used to pretend violence in movies, video games, and television shows that we are often not affected by the real life violence that happens around us.
Here are some ways that you can help your children empathize with and have compassion for others. Remember, the things that they see you do will have the most impact on how they live.
Children do copy their parentsâ€™ behavior more than most of us would like to admit. If your child seems to be selfish and self-absorbed, you may want to take a look at your own attitudes toward others. Take notice of what you say about other people or your tone of voice when you talk to someone.
While you donâ€™t necessarily need to give money to homeless people, you should be careful about how you explain homelessness. It isnâ€™t always a matter of people not wanting to work â€“ there are other issues that cause homelessness.
When children understand that others sacrifice something for them, they learn to be grateful. The military, police, firemen, and other public servants work daily to make our communities safe places to be, and their efforts should be appreciated.
Talk about who deserves gratitude and why. Send cards to service members or take cookies to the police station â€“ whatever you do, make sure that your kids are in on it.
Learn to Serve
Serving at a soup kitchen, collecting toys for kids that wonâ€™t have Christmas without them, and taking clothes and blankets to shelters can help children understand that there are people in the world with real needs â€“ people who are really destitute. It helps them appreciate their own blessings.
Kids that have pets and are taught to take care of them will develop compassion. It gives them the knowledge that all living things have feelings, experience sadness, joy, and pain. Kids make the connection between the feelings of others and their own feelings.
How many times have you read about a crime that occurred while onlookers stood around doing nothing? Teaching your child that people have a responsibility to take care of each other opens their eyes to the world around them.