Teaching Kids Kindness: Richard Weissbourd

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 8:00 am

I am a big fan of Richard Weisbourd, author of The Parents We Mean To Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development, and I was especially impressed with his thoughtful comments on teaching children kindness — not just how to be kind but why kindness matters.

He says that instead of teaching children that happiness is their goal (or ours for them), we can do better by making kindness the priority, and communicate that by praising good examples and being good examples ourselves. That means showing friendliness and gratitude to all the people our lives touch and reaching beyond our usual circles to create opportunities to expand empathy and understanding.

And I recommend using the movies and television you watch to create teaching moments. When the characters show especially kind — or unkind — behavior, point it out. Ask what they were thinking and how their actions made those around them feel. My book, The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies has lists of films especially well suited for helping families have those discussions.

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Parenting Preschoolers Tweens
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