Kindness is like a magic formula that can change people’s hearts and lives for the better. Acts of kindness not only benefit others but help to lift your own spirit so that you have a better outlook on life. According to scientific studies, kindness offers a number of physical, mental and emotional benefits. Kind hearted people can’t help but share kind words and deeds with those in need so they, too, can experience the joy and happiness that this quality brings.
People who are kind display the qualities of friendliness, generosity and consideration in their lives. Consideration is a good synonym for being kind. Children who are considerate have little trouble being liked, making it easier for them to make new friends and be accepted by others. If you want to be welcomed into any social setting, be kind and considerate to others as it can open doors for a happy and fulfilling life.
Kindness begets kindness. According to Patty O’Grady, a specialist in emotional learning and education, “Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it.” Parents who teach their children to be kind reap the rewards of living in a home with less friction and strife.
In like manners, schools can also benefit by reinforcing the principles of being kind and considerate in their students’ education. Such benefits could include:
- A happier, more caring student body
- An increase in peer acceptance
- Students with higher self-esteem
- An improvement in student/teacher relationships
- An environment with reduced stress and pressure
- An environment that’s more conducive to learning
- Students with a positive outlook for the future
- A reduction in bullying
Combating Bullying with Kindness
Just as being kind offers many benefits in life, the lack of it can produce the opposite effect. Growing up in an unloving, uncaring environment can result in children becoming mean, disrespectful to others and resentful. Studies show that bullies often come from difficult environments such as broken or financially deprived homes where they receive little love and care. In many cases, verbal and physical abuse is a common occurrence in their home, resulting in children and teens emulating the same behavior in school or other local environments. If a lack of kindness can contribute to bullying behavior, then integrating this quality into school programs could be a means of curtailing bullying in primary and secondary schools.
Traditional anti-bullying strategies incorporate disciplinary measures into their programs for perpetrators of bullying acts. Such measures range from loss of privileges to being expelled from school, depending on the severity of the bullying. Up to now, most schools have used the system of punishing children and teens for their bullying behavior on school grounds.
Character training with a focus on kindness and consideration offers an alternative route to curtailing school bullying. Through programs that integrate this quality into the school curriculum, schools can help replace a child or teen’s errant mindsets and attitudes with positive behavior.
Kindness could very well be the catalyst that turns a bully’s life around. According to psychology professor Maurice Elias of Rutgers University, a strong advocate of kindness training, “Kindness…is a defining aspect of civilized human life. It belongs in every home, school, neighborhood and society.”
Most all parents want their children to grow up to be kind and considerate of others. Encouraging your kids to be considerate is one way to reinforce this principle in their lives. Teaching them empathy is another. Empathy goes beyond acts of kindness as it helps children understand other people’s thoughts and feelings on situations so they can see things from others’ point of view. Empathy can give your child a heart for others as he or she begins to understand how other people feel.
Empathy is a wonderful quality for children to learn as it strengthens relationships both at home and in the school environment. Empathy can help your kids recognize when their friends or peers at school are feeling hurt or sad, so they can respond kindly to help them. Here are some ways you can impart this valuable quality to your children.
Make Sure Your Kids Feel Loved and Secure
Children who feel secure and loved are better able to respond kindly to others. Your children will treat others as they are treated. If they come from a home atmosphere that’s generous and kind, they will respond in like manner to those around them. In like manner, kids who come from a harsh or demanding home will display that same behavior with their peers, which may lead to bullying. By loving and accepting your child for who he is, you help boost his confidence and self-esteem, enabling him to give to others.
Help Your Kids Understand Their Own Feelings
Your kids need to learn to understand their own feelings before they can understand the feelings of others. This can be accomplished by encouraging them to communicate their feelings, be they positive or negative, in situations that arise, without resorting to tantrums, name-calling or violence. As they learn to identify and communicate their own feelings, they’ll be in a better position to understand the feelings of others.
Model Empathy in Your Own Life
Children learn by observing your actions. If you model empathy in your own life, they will learn to do the same. Use real life situations to teach your kids empathy, such as taking care of a sick neighbor or donating food to the elderly. Talk about how others feel in difficult situations and encourage your kids to respond kindly to those feelings. In school, empathy can motivate your children to be kind to kids who are ostracized or bullied. It will also keep them from participating in this behavior as they have a better understanding of how it feels.
Teach Your Kids that Their Behavior Matters
Help your kids understand that their behavior matters. They can have a positive or negative impact on others’ lives depending on their choices. It’s important kids learn to make good choices that help or encourage others rather than tear them down. Empathy can help young people evaluate the consequences of their decisions by understanding how their actions make people feel. In this way, they can make better choices in how they react and behave toward their peers.
There are many reasons why children and teens resort to bullying behavior. These include lack of moral training, low self-esteem, negative feelings about themselves, lack of love and care at home, etc. Teaching the value of kindness and consideration can help change negative mindsets and attitudes that contribute to bullying behavior so bullies can live happier, more productive lives.
Here are but a few of the many benefits that being kind has to offer.
By being kind hearted, you can generate happiness in other people’s lives as well as your own. Kind deeds make you feel good about yourself and give purpose and meaning to your life. Even little acts of encouragement can bring joy and contentment into your life.
Better Health and Well Being
Kindness is a positive quality that can bring out the best in your life. Research has long proven that positive thoughts and emotions promote better health and well-being. Having a positive perspective on life can help reduce many common ailments in life such as stress and high blood as well as improve heart conditions and promote better sleep. Being kind can help you live a longer, happier and healthier life.
Enhances the Lives of Others
Kind words and deeds enhance the lives of others to make a positive difference in society at large. Many young people today are looking for a way to make the world a better place to live. Love and consideration could very well be the answer to many of society’s problems. By planting seeds of kindness in children’s lives, parents and teachers can start a chain reaction that can continue to grow for generations to come.
Kindness is Free
The beauty of kindness is that it can be freely given and freely received. Anyone and everyone can participate in sharing kind words and deeds with those around them. By choosing to be kind, people can invest in their future and the future of others, without necessarily having to spend money. Every day offers an opportunity to speak and act kindly at home, in school and in the workplace.
Your behavior matters to children, teens and adults alike. How you behave towards others can have a positive or negative effect in your and their lives. In the school environment, kindness can produce an atmosphere of caring and acceptance which helps students perform better in their studies. It also gives young people a better outlook for their future.
Kindness is one of the best ways of improving the quality of life for children and teens so they can look forward to a brighter future.