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As mothers, it is quite common to focus on a child‘s ability to read and write, play sports and many other things that we think are important for raising a healthy child. We tend to assume that it will be within their nature to grow up and become kind-hearted and compassionate. What we don’t realize is that just like anything else, emotional intelligence needs to be taught and our jobs as mothers is to teach children how to become kind, compassionate and have empathy.
Emotional intelligence needs training and is something that does not happen overnight. In this article, our certified positive psychology and parenting coach, Rana Hany gives us 5 tips to boost your child’s empathy, compassion and emotional intelligence.
Make caring for others a priority
When your child tells you about a problem with their friend, make sure you ask about the friend’s feelings, too. You can do this by asking: “Why do you think your friend did that?” “What do you think they were feeling?” Or you can even ask,“ What do you think he is bothered by to make him react this way?”
When you ask these questions, you teach your child to put themselves in other people’s shoes, give them the benefit of the doubt and always assume the best intentions.
Be your child’s role model
Children tend to mirror everything that parents do and so, it is important to be their role model. If you want your child to put others first and have empathy, you must work on yourself, care for people’s feelings, and avoid being sarcastic when it comes to their emotions. When you act kindly towards others, forgive, give people the benefit of the doubt and always think of others, you’re teaching your child to do the same.
When you do something wrong, apologize. This will teach your children the best way to apologize based on the magnitude of the wrong they’ve done.
Teach them how to deal with anyone who offers help
It has become quite common to see children speaking to their nanny in a disrespectful way. Unfortunately, this behaviour is one they adopt by seeing how the parents deal with the same situation. That’s why it is important to teach your children to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
Help them express their anger in a positive way
When anger kicks in, many people forget about kindness, compassion or thinking about the consequences of their actions and can even resort to hurting other people’s feelings. Instead, it is important to teach your kids that while all emotions are acceptable, it does not allow us to hurt ourselves or others.
Remind your children that actions have consequences and can influence those around them
Compassion is an essential stem of kindness; teaching your child how to be compassionate with others is the basis of teaching them how to deal with others.
As a mother, you should try to use daily events and situations to teach them about kindness and compassion. You can always use situations where your child is being mistreated and ask them to think of how the other child is feeling or what makes them react in a certain way. You can also ask them how they would react if they were in the other child’s shoes. This will help them try to understand where the other person is coming from and always think before they act.
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