Attachment Parenting: Harvard Study Shares Helpful Tips For Raising Caring Children (Part 2)

It’s every parent’s goal to raise a caring, kind, respectful, loving and ethical children. Raising these kind of children is and always has been hard work. But it’s something all of us can do. And no work is more important or ultimately more rewarding.

Well, researchers at Harvard University believe they have some tips on how to do so, and turns out that many come as benefits of attachment parenting.

We had earlier shared four of the parenting tips (read here). Below are the remaining:

5. Expand your child’s circle of concern.

Almost all children empathize with and care about a small circle of families and friends. Our challenge is help children learn to have empathy and care about someone outside that circle, such as a new child in class, someone who doesn’t speak their language, the school custodian, or someone who lives in a distant country.

It is important that children learn to zoom in, listening closely and attending to those in their immediate circle, and to zoom out, taking in the big picture and considering the range of people they interact with every day.

Children also need to consider how their decisions impact a community. Breaking a school rule, for example, can make it easier for others to break rules. Especially in our more global world, it’s important, too, for children to develop concern for people who live in other cultures and communities.

  • Children facing challenges. Encourage children to consider the perspectives and feelings of those who may be vulnerable, such as a new child at school or a child experiencing some family trouble. Give children some simple ideas for taking action, like comforting a classmate who was teased or reaching out to a new student.
  • Zooming out. Use newspaper or TV stories to start conversations with children about other people’s hardships and challenges, or simply the different experiences of children in another country or community.
  • Listening. Emphasize with your child the importance of really listening to others, especially those people who may seem unfamiliar and who may be harder to immediately understand.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Dad Who Stoops To Conquer, Earns The Approval Of Twitter Users For His Flexible Parenting Approach

6. Promote children’s ability to be ethical thinkers and positive change-makers in their communities.

Children are naturally interested in ethical questions and grappling with these ethical questions can help them figure out, for example, what fairness is, what they owe others, and what to do when they have conflicting loyalties.

Children are also often interested in taking leadership roles to improve their communities. They want to be forces for good. Many of the most impressive programs to build caring and respect and to stop bullying and cruelty, for example, have been started by children and youth.

You can help children become ethical thinkers and leaders by listening to and helping them think through their own ethical dilemmas, such as, “Should I invite a new neighbor to my birthday party when my best friend doesn’t like her?” At the same time, you can provide opportunities for your children to fight injustice in their communities and to strengthen their communities in other ways.

  • Taking action. Encourage children to take action against problems that affect them, such as cyberbullying or an unsafe street corner.
  • Joining up. Provide opportunities for children to join causes, whether it’s reducing homelessness, supporting girls’ education in developing countries, calling attention to the plight of abused animals, or any area that is of interest to them.
  • Doing “with.” Encourage children not just to “do for” others but to “do with” others, working with diverse groups of students to respond to community problems.
  • Thinking out loud with your child. Start a conversation about ethical dilemmas that arise on TV shows or give children ethical dilemmas to grapple with at meal times or in other situations. What should they do when a schoolmate tells them bad things about another child? When they see someone cheating on a test or stealing? When they’ve done something wrong and are afraid to admit it to their parents or caretakers?

READ ALSO: 11 Helpful Tips On Raising Your Child With Good Manners

7. Help children develop self-control and manage feelings effectively.

Often the ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings.

We can teach children that all feelings are ok, but some ways of dealing with them are not useful. Children need our help learning to cope with feelings in productive ways.

  • Identifying feelings. Name for children their difficult feelings such as frustration, sadness and anger and encourage them to talk to you about why they’re feeling that way.
  • 3 steps to self-control. A simple way to help children to manage their feelings is to practice three easy steps together: stop, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth, and count to five. Try it when your child is calm. Then, when you see her getting upset, remind her about the steps and do them together.
  • Resolving conflicts. Practice with your child how to resolve conflicts. Consider a conflict you or your child witnessed or experienced that turned out badly, and role play different ways of responding. Try to achieve mutual understanding—listening to and paraphrasing each other’s feelings until both people feel understood. If your child observes you experiencing a difficult feeling and is concerned, talk to your child about how you are handling it.
  • Clear limits. Use authority wisely to set clear boundaries. Explain how your limits are based on a reasonable and loving concern for your child’s welfare.

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