Is raising resilient, successful and kind children on top of your list? There are a few things that scientists want you to know. The reason is that According to a Deloitte study soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. So raising nice kids begins with teaching them the basics of prosocial behavior at an early age. Thus let’s take a look how to raise resilient and successful children.
Successful Children and Prosocial Behavior
One of the questions how to raise successful and resilient children can be found in trying to teach them prosocial behavior. Science has proven that promoting actions that are intended to benefit others at an early age can predict academic and social success.
So What Can You Do to Encourage Prosocial Behavior in Children?
According to Eisenberg and Mussen prosocial behavior refers to “voluntary actions that are intended to help or benefit another individual or group of individuals”. So which simple skills do kids need to know to get along with others?
To promote prosocial behavior, we need to encourage children’s ability to voluntarily act in a positive, accepting, helpful, and cooperative manner. This has also been associated with many factors of well-being.
Furthermore, prosocial behavior has been correlated with positive social interaction skills, positive self-concept, positive peer relationships, peer acceptance, as well as a lower risk of externalizing behaviors and lower levels of problem behaviors at school. So what do smart parents do to make sure they raise resilient and successful children?
Raising Resilient and Successful Children in Six Simple Steps
Step 1: Teaching Manners To Your Kids
All Kids love stories. So the easiest way to introduce kids to manners is to read to them. Marie Chantal of Greece has published a beautiful book called “Manners Begin at Breakfast: Modern Etiquette for Families”. The wife of Crown Prince Pavlos` especially emphasizes the importance of treating other family members respectfully. For Princess Marie Chantal learning manners begins at home, especially during shared meals. She introduces easy rules like not interrupting others in a very loving way. As a consequence the Princess of Greece reminds us how much more beautiful life can be if we give our full attention to each other instead of shifting it to modern technology. Consequently this is a simple way of raising resilient and successful children
Knowing basic manners makes kids powerful
Knowing basic manners makes kids powerful. The reason is that it makes other people feel comfortable. As William Feather says “Politeness is an inexpensive way of making friends.” Therefore we should make sure to share this simple secret with our children. Even more, we can simply encourage them to treat others the way we would like to be treated by others.
Having manners gives children an easy way to bond with others. In addition, it gives them confidence for life as they understand how to behave to get along with others. Here is a list with some basic manners every kid should know.
A list of basic manners to promote prosocial behavior
- Say Please and Thank you
- Do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency.
- Avoid complaining. Instead, start learning to be grateful at an early age.
- Do not comment on other people’s physical characteristics or behavior. Like their table manners or clothing. Adults get offended easily.
- Compliment others as often as you can. This is expected and appreciated by many people.
- When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.
- Knock on closed doors — and wait to see if there’s a response — before entering.
- Learn to listen to what others have to say.
- When you are at a friends house, be tidy and always ask for permission before taking something. No matter if it is your friend or his/her parents.
- When you have spent time at your friend’s house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over and for the good time you had.
- When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.
- Gifts are an act of kindness. Always say thank you and how much you appreciate the thought. Also get in the habit of bringing gifts when you go to someone’s house.
- Keep your mouth closed while eating. Also don’t talk with a full mouth.
- Always keep an eye on people if they need help. Even if it is only opening a door.
Adults need to be well-mannered role models
It is also very important to let kids know that manners are not a one way street. Kids can also expect adults, friends and teachers to have manners and treat them respectfully. For children`s well-being and safety it is also essential to give them the right to set others boundaries if they are badly mannered. For example, adults often like to touch little kids and want to caress them. But kids should know that they have the right for their personal space as well. To raise resilient and successful children we have to accept our responsibility to be good role models.
Step 2: How do I teach my child compassion?
Perhaps the easiest way is to watch the Movie “Little Women”.
This film contains an amazing example for compassion. The girls`mother encourages the girls to share their own Christmas feast with a very poor family. Also they did not have a lot themselves, they were encouraged to share with people who had even less. Everyone who watches the movie can see how hard it is for the girls to take the food over to the poor widow in the neighborhood. We need to find opportunities for our kids to share with people who are less fortunate and need their help. It helps kids to be proud of themselves and understand their worth and the worth of others.
Step 3: Helping kids to see someone else’s perspective
Kids start being able to take someone else’s perspective at an early age. Four year olds are already capable of seeing a situation from another person’s perspective.
As parents we can encourage our kids by asking them what they think others might feel. This helps promoting emotional intelligence at an early age. This will help kids to become more resilient as studies have shown that students with high emotional intelligence are more co-operative, make better leaders in the classroom and healthier choices for themselves. Furthermore, they get better grades at school. Thus encouraging emotional intelligence helps us raising resilient and successful children.
Step 4: Encourage sensitivity – a powerful to tool when raising resilient and successful children
Emotional sensitivity refers to how children respond emotionally to various situations. There are two types of sensitivity.
- The first measures how tuned in your children are to their own feelings. Some children are highly sensitive emotionally to their own feelings and feel things very deeply, while others do not seem to be aware of what they are feeling at all.
- The second measures how sensitive your children are to others’ feelings and emotions. Some children are very tuned in to what is going on for others and other children appear to be non-responsive to what they see emotionally around them. Sensitivity helps to develop empathy – the ability to feel what others feel.
Step 5: Why encouraging awareness of emotions makes kids resilient
In a society where we still pretend that the rational mind seems more important than emotions, we tend to be annoyed when our kids are sensitive. The reason is that crying kids are more work. So are anxious kids. But to build resilience kids needs to be aware of their emotions. Furthermore, they need understand and and then learn to control them. Here are the three most common emotions and their meaning for kids to learn:
Meaning of emotions
Fear – can be a warning sign. “Watch out” when you feel it and check your surrounding. Are there any dangers that need your attention?
Anger – usually occurs when our needs are not met. “What do you need right now”? In addition, we also get angry when we don’t set boundaries properly.
Sadness – usually expresses a desire for more love. Depending on their love language and the fact that kids have a strong need for affection, there are three questions that can be helpful:
- Do you need a hug?
- Would you like me to listen to you?
- How about a little time with mom?
Teaching our kids to get familiar with what they feel is one of the most important parts when raising resilient and successful children.
Step 6: Resilient kids learn to control their emotions
Teaching kids to control their emotions is probably one of the biggest challenges of adulthood. First of all, we always have to keep in mind that much of our kids behavior is copied from us parents. As parents we are role models – no matter if we want to be or not. If we are getting upset easily and scream at others, how can we expect our kids to do the same. If we stay calm in challenging situations and can control our fear by focusing on our mind, our kids will learn to do the same.
Secondly, we need to train the awareness of listening to our own voice and start controlling it. Do we talk harshly? Is our voice full of aggression? Do we talk soft or loud? Do we speak cold or warm and encouraging words? The voice is our key to communication and bonding. Furthermore, it reflects our emotions. Even more, we need to encourage our kids to start listening to how they say things. That is very often more important than emphasizing what they say.
If kids raise their voices or scream, it is more important to help them to look at the emotion behind their behavior than focusing on what happened on the surface. Therefore, we need to ask our kids in this moment is: what do you feel right now? Instead of letting them focus what might have happened around them. The reason is that it is easy to blame others. But growth lies in helping our kids identifying their emotions behind the scenes.
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Let’s start focusing on raising resilient and successful children.
Encouraging our kids to develop prosocial behavior is the first step. Even more, we all love kindness because it is the easiest way to turn the world into a more peaceful and loving place.