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Teaching Your Children Compassion in a Violent World
How Parents Can Help
Tell Your Children How You Feel
Set a Good Example
- Help a lonely or elderly neighbor.
- Donate canned goods to a food bank.
- Give money and a kind word to a homeless person.
- Provide your children with other role models, such as family members and friends who are kind and caring.
- Encourage your children to do volunteer work in the community, such as visiting people in nursing homes or helping the disabled.
- Encourage your children to take care of a pet.
Counteracting the Influences of the Outside World
- Encourage your children to watch television shows that have positive role models and promote ideas about caring. Try to limit their viewing of violent programs.
- Give your children resources, such as books and dvds, that promote acts of compassion. Keep in mind that children and teens are likely to respond better to compassionate characters that are ordinary, rather than perfect.
- Ask your children about movies they have seen or want to see. Do they glorify violence to people or animals? Do they glamorize criminals or people who obtain what they want at the expense of others? Ask them to think about alternative approaches that characters might have taken.
- Educate your children about famous heroes and heroines who exemplified caring and compassion. They can learn about such people through books, television shows, and museums. Ask them who they admire and why.
Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org/
National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml/
Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.ontario.cmha.ca/
Canadian Psychiatric Association http://www.cpa-apc.org/
Family and relationships: what makes kids care? American Psychological Association website. Available at: http://www.apa.org . Accessed April 4, 2003.
Parenting: raising kind children. University of Missouri website. Available at: http://missourifamilies.org/features/parentingarticles/parenting4.htm . Accessed June 10, 2007.