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Raising Children To Be Kind

Once I had a student who displayed anti-social behaviour. When we corrected her and explained it wasn't nice nor kind to treat a friend in a mean and rough manner, she surprised us with her answer.

'But I don't want to be nice or kind. Why should I bother to be?' retorted the preschooler.

Now that's a stumbling block for a preschool teacher who relies on altruistic, positive values to discipline and correct.

When I spoke to the parent then (and subsequently), the parent's focus was on being right. Be it the-child-can-do-no-wrong, badgering the point across, to as trivial as nitpicking on every report or message. While the child wasn't specifically told not to be kind or nice, the child clearly picked up the subtle cues from the parents.

In the shared article, the author wasn't sure if adopting certain family habits would promote kindness in a child. My answer to the author is yes, yes and yes. The family habits represent the family values and the child's upbringing. Children learn from these experiences what are the desired qualities to adopt and emulate.

And if you wonder what my answer was to the preschooler, I told her '...because kindness begets kindness. When you do something unkind to get your way, you may get what you want immediately. But you hurt your friend, you may never have a chance to play with her again. Try doing something nice for someone even without immediate benefits to yourself. You make your friend, yourself, me happy and the world a happier place.'

A kind child grows up to be a member of a kinder society. Maybe that's why they call what we do a kinder-garten.

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