Raising Kind Children
Parent Circle|February 2017

Kindness is a virtue that leads your life path towards well-being. It is a characteristic that can be expressed in multiple ways, but it’s all about being ‘happy to help’. Here’s how to teach your child to be kind.

Kalyani Krishna

While delivering a lecture, the chairperson of Infosys Foundation, Dr Sudha Murty spoke about an interesting practice adopted in their household.

“My daughter Akshata is a shopaholic and keeps buying a lot of dresses. As a parent, I make her understand the luxury she enjoys is a result of hard work put in by her parents and many of our employees. As a rule, every time Akshata adds new dresses to her wardrobe she should also give an equal number of her apparel to those in need. I still go by the advice that late J R D Tata gave me when I left my job to assist my husband in leading Infosys. He told me, 'You are only a trustee of money and it always changes hands. When you are successful, give it back to society that gave you so much goodwill.' Today, we are running a successful software business and it is our turn to inculcate the same values in our children.”

Now, that was a really ‘kindhearted’ statement by one of the most respected personalities in India. As has been defined globally on multiple platforms, ‘an act of kindness is a spontaneous gesture of goodwill towards someone or something - our fellow humans, the animal kingdom, and the kingdom of nature. When we carry out an act of kindness it is a message from one heart to another, an act of love, an unspoken "I care" statement’.

WHY KINDNESS MATTERS

Psychologists believe that kindness is a natural antidepressant. An act of kindness boosts the levels of serotonin, a chemical that boosts learning, memory, mood, sleep, health and digestion. When kindness becomes a habit, it has a ripple effect on various aspects of an individual’s personality. A kind individual is more likely to be happy and healthy, build positive relationships, experience life satisfaction, develop healthy self esteem and, most importantly, feel a sense of control over life.

A study by researchers Arber Tasimi of Yale University and Liane Young of Boston College in the US revealed how kindness affects children. According to them, when children think about the good deeds they have done, they feel encouraged to indulge in many more such acts in the future.

With many benefits to be derived from being kind, it is an important quality to nurture in children. A lot of research points to the fact that all children are born with the gift of kindness. However, the habit of indulging in kind acts seems to decline by the time they reach class 4. By this age, self-interest drives children’s deeds more than doing good to others.

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