Communicating Morals to Children
Parents from virtually all backgrounds place high importance on raising caring children. So what kind of messaging is most effective when it comes to influencing our children to be generous and kind? Role modeling!
In a classic experiment, psychologist J. Philippe Rushton gave 140 elementary and middle school children tokens for winning a game, which they could keep or donate to an impoverished child. They first watched a teacher play—and regardless of what the teacher said, or did not say, about the virtues of generosity, children donated significantly more than the norm when they saw the teacher behaving unselfishly.
Adam Grant, a professor of management and psychology at the Wharton School and author of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, notes, “If you don’t model generosity, preaching it may not help in the short run, and in the long run, preaching is less effective than giving while saying nothing at all.” In short, when it comes to passing on our values, actions speak louder than words.
We want to hear: How do you encourage your children to be compassionate and giving? Join the conversation by clicking "comments" below.
6/3/2014 02:29:42 am
I have raised a lot of kids, and being an example of caring for others, giving of yourself and your money or talents to help someone else, is one of the best ways to teach children to do the same.
6/5/2014 06:51:16 am
Thank you for this, Merry. It is inspiring how your life story and struggles have created such a generous and giving family. Guess it is true: the gift is in the giving.
6/5/2014 08:14:42 am
Thank you Susan. Example is the best way to lead children I think.
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