Dr. Anna Cohen, Sydney’s leading Clinical Child Psychologist suggests ideas for parents to foster in order to raise children that are socially aware and considerate.
A child’s ability to interact with other children their age and adults is a crucial aspect of their development. To develop this understanding and appreciation of considerate behaviour by-and-large starts in the home. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to model appropriate behaviour and demonstrate ways in which their children can conduct themselves in a social setting, classroom environment or in the home.
Encouraging considerate behaviour
Children react to what they see; this can be their initial interaction in developing their communication and moral compass. A good message to educate our children with is, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” and can be simply worded as, “in this family we use build-ups not put-downs”.
This saying is something that your child will repeat in their head when they are thinking negative thoughts towards others. Whilst allowing them to build on their emotional understanding of considerate and inconsiderate behaviour. Considerate behaviour is where an individual is able to regulate their behaviour without someone correcting them. This is a skill that needs to be encouraged by parents setting a clear example.
Children work best when following a set of guidelines, having pre agreed consequences for inconsiderate, or undesirable behaviour lets your child know what you expect from them. They understand that if they behave in a way that is undesirable there will be a consequence. Parents need to ensure that when setting consequences they avoid bringing negative emotion and expression into the delivery. As consequences are designed to steer children away from the behaviour as the undesirable behaviour brings about a negative outcome, and this offers them the tools to be responsible for their own actions.
Assign them household chores .
Assign chores the habit of helping others starts in the home. Children feel empowered when they are given manageable tasks, assigning them roles such as setting the table, or feeding the animals.
Parents should cater the role to match their child’s capabilities and make a schedule, placing it in a visible place such as on the fridge. This way the child knows their responsibilities within the house and understands the positive impact their contribution has on the household. This will build you child’s confidence, self-esteem and self efficacy as their responsibilities increase to match their capabilities.
Monitoring screen time:
Children’s online presence needs to be monitored as studies have shown that individual’s empathy and compassion in an online forum is far less than in a face- to-face setting. There has been a spike in bullying as the computer screen takes the personal nature out of the conversation and individuals feel they can say things they wouldn’t otherwise say to someone in person.
Educating your children on appropriate online etiquette will ensure that they know when to recognise bullying and learn not to say things behind a screen just because they can’t see the individual’s reaction.
Children’s understanding of others happens from a young age, as they develop their awareness of what is appropriate develops too. By the age of 5 children will develop more of an understanding of sharing without being prompted, if they are guided in their younger years. This is pattern of development that will happen through every stage of their lives and as parents we are a powerful guiding force so being mindful and considerate in our behaves will have positive effect on our children.
From more information or professional advice contact Sydney’s leading Child Clinical Psychologist, Dr Anna Cohen at Kids & Co. – www.kidsandco.com.au
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