9 Tips to Raising Compassionate Kids

Friday, November 9th, 2012 by from Mom, Myself, & I

9 Tips to Raising Compassionate Kids Picture

According to the dictionary, the word compassion is defined as "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."

The act of compassion is behind some of the most miraculous displays of love for humanity that have ever existed.  Recently, MSNBC aired a special that indicated that today’s young adults – high school and college students – are less likely to "get’ the emotions of others as compared to people of the same age group 30 to 40 years ago. 

Today, we are daily made aware of acts of bullying by our young people.  Chances are if you have a child in school, then you have had to watch your child endure some sort of bullying, possibly erupting from the lack of compassion that today’s young people feel towards others. 

In short, kids are being raised to feel that the world is ‘all about me.’  Psychologists see a growing trend among children wherein they do not graduate from the typical toddler-like emotional notion that the world revolves around them.  Is it the parents that are causing this?  Is it the ultra competitive nature of the society that our children are growing up in that causes this lack of empathy and compassion? 

Even more disturbing, is that according to The Humane Society of the United States, children are the rising demographic of those indulging in acts of cruelty towards animals. 

The truth is that compassion and empathy for others go hand in hand.  And it is compassion that will help to solve both world problems and individual ones.  Children today are caught up in a cycle that seems to pit them against the world; friend against friend, in a winner takes all game of life.  But when we lack compassion and empathy - who really wins? 

It isn’t that bullying others and meanness hasn’t always existed.  It is just that that bullying and meanness among children has never existed in the capacity that is apparent today. 

The Dalai Lama has emphasized in many of his speeches how important it is for us, as parents, to teach our children compassion.  He also asserts the fact that children need to learn about compassion from witnessing it firsthand, from their parents and caregivers. 

The following tips will help you teach your child how to be compassionate!

1.  Be a model of compassion yourself.  Your children need to see you behaving with compassion toward the stray animal that wanders into your yard starving or to the homeless man standing on the corner.  Your responses in those moments model the compassion your child will feel towards others.

2.  When your children talk about other people negatively, try to help them understand what those people may be experiencing.  Help them see that there are two sides to every story.

3.  Volunteer.  Give up half of your Thanksgiving morning to deliver meals to the needy who are homebound, and have your children join you.  Spend a Saturday building a home for Habitat for Humanity.  This helps kids see that not everyone in life is as lucky as they are.

4.  Sponsor a child from http://www.compassion.com/ that is about the same age as your child.  This organization enables your child to reach out to a child far, far away – and can help them develop a friendship through letters and computer contact that can prove invaluable in promoting compassion.

5. Teach your child to stand up to bullies, whether they are bullying them or other classmates.  Talk about why the bully might be acting that way, and ways your child can show compassion to the bully to change their behavior.  Try to avoid falling into the "That kid is just a bad apple and you should stay away from him,’ trap that develops righteousness over compassion.

6. Encourage your children to say nice things to other people.  One word of kindness delivered in just the right moment, can do wonders for another person’s spirit. 

7.  Help your child recognize the signs that someone else is in need of a helping hand and encourage your child to brainstorm ways to help.

8. Most importantly – be compassionate towards your kids. 

9.  Teach them how to care for, love, and be responsible for a pet – whether the pet is a goldfish or a dog.  Animals can be great teachers of compassion for our children. 

Share with us!  How do you encourage compassion and empathy with your children? 

What do you think? 9 Tips to Raising Compassionate Kids

Stef DanielAuthor

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (w ... More

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7 comments

  1. Avatar of Adam Adam says:

    We have two min pins/toy terriers that absolutely love our little one and are anxious to be able to play with him. He is only three months, so it is a bit tough, but they are ready to love all over him.

  2. I love this article! My husband and I recently decided to homeschool our kids because our local school district is full of bullies and it is understaffed meaning attention is always somewhere else. I love the tips to creating more compassionate children. While we do a couple of them already the others are brilliant and I can’t wait to try them!

  3. I love this article! My husband and I recently decided to homeschool our kids because our local school district is full of bullies and it is understaffed meaning attention is always somewhere else. I love the tips to creating more compassionate children. While we do a couple of them already the others are brilliant and I can’t wait to try them!

  4. Avatar of taylor taylor says:

    Talk to them! Your kids will understand compassion, empathy and self confidence if you explain the things that are happening all around you. Explaining to a child WHY they are being punished or why an outcome occured helps them to better understand how things work and why.

  5. Avatar of thinkobu thinkobu says:

    A very important aspect of bringing up children which is often overlooked by us. Good reading

  6. Avatar of Amity Amity says:

    Parents are the biggest infuse in a childs life. If parents do not show compassion for other people or things, then a child will not be able to understand its true meaning. If compassion is thought at home at a young age, then they will be less likely to bully other kids. They will most likely being the person who can speak up when someone else is being bullied.

  7. Avatar of Amity Amity says:

    Parents are the biggest influence in a childs life. If parents do not show compassion for other people or things, then a child will not be able to understand its true meaning. If compassion is thought at home at a young age, then they will be less likely to bully other kids. They will most likely being the person who can speak up when someone else is being bullied.

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