Everyone has a different approach to parenting, but most people have the same goal in mind: to raise caring children. Not only does raising empathetic children make them more likely to be happy, but it also makes them more likely to be successful, according to Harvard researchers in human development. The ability to foster strong relationships is a key factor for happiness, as well as for success in a collaborative workplace. In order to help parents and caretakers set their children up for happiness and success, Harvard put together a few guidelines for raising caring children. Here's what they suggest all parents do.
Develop Loving Relationships
Because children learn from the way they are treated, when your children feel loved, they become attached to you and better able to absorb your values. You can develop a loving relationship in many different ways. Harvard researchers suggest planning "regular, emotionally intimate time with your children." You can do this through something as simple as reading a bedtime story each night or asking meaningful questions like, what did you accomplish today that you feel good about?
Set High Ethical Expectations
Children need to learn from parents the importance of caring about others. Harvard researchers suggest holding children to high ethical expectations by sending clear messages about the importance of honoring commitments and doing the right thing even when it's not easy. Make it clear that happiness is important, but so is kindness. You can also encourage kids to work out their problems by asking them to consider their obligations to others when it comes to hanging out ith friends or quitting a team.
Encourage Zooming Out
Children tend to have a small circle of friends and family to care about, so as a parent or caretaker, it's important to expand their circle to help them empathize with others. You can do this by encouraging your kids to consider the perspectives of vulnerable people, like a new kid in class, and how they can make them feel good by befriending them. You can also use news stories to talk to children about the hardships people in other communities face.