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Socially Smart Kids - How Parents Raise Caring Children

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Children who care about others have social empathy. As they grow, their inner wisdom could empower others to be caring people too.

In this article we'll share 6 child behaviors to change, 7 caring principles to teach, 8 empathy questions to ask, and 9 self-talk suggestions. Armed with these tools, you'll have the parenting strategies you need to raise your children with social intelligence.

6 Self-Centered Child Behaviors to Change

1. Whining to get out of household chores
2. Complaining when she's required to end a favorite activity
3. Taking what he wants from others at home, school, or in the neighborhood
4. Unconcerned if she hurts others emotionally or physically
5. Demanding that things go his way
6. Acting disrespectful to parents, teachers, and family members

If your child's temper explodes often or she tries to control others, you have a self-centered child on your hands. Unless she changes, her life will be unpleasant and others will avoid her.

Kids aren't born knowing how the world works. This article will help you open their minds to relating to others, understanding others' feelings, and making friends.

Keep reading to find out some beliefs and values you can instill in your children. They will help your kids become socially wise and caring people.

7 Caring Principles for Parents to Inspire in Children

1. Instill in your kids that all people have value and deserve respect.
2. Promote kindness by being kind. Praise your kids when they are kind too.
3. Boost awareness of others' feelings by asking, “How do you think she felt?”
4. Involve your child in helping others. Discuss why it feels so good.
5. Teach the value of cooperating with others. Create a loving family team.
6. Listen well to your children. Discuss how listening is the magic in friendships.
7. Model being respectful and expect respect in return.

8 Discussion Questions for Increasing Empathy

Consider discussing a new question each week. Use words like, “Tell me more” or “What do you mean?” to keep the discussion going.

Don't lecture your child on what to think. Rather, find out what he thinks and why. Accept his ideas without arguing. If you don't agree, say something like, “I see things a little differently.” Remember, if you force your ideas, your child may get stubborn and rebel against them.

1. Why are all people important?
2. Why is being kind to others a powerful way to act?
3. Why is it good to think about another kid's feelings when he is sad, angry, or fearful?
4. When you help others, why does it feel so good?
5. When you cooperate and work well with others, what feelings do you experience?
6. When you listen to others without interrupting, how does your listening help others feel good and like you better?
7. Why should we show people respect?
8. What's smart about treating meanness with kindness?

9 Caring Self-Talk Sayings to Discuss with Your Children

So often a difficult event, like being called a mean name, can rattle kids. How they react to that name-calling is easier when they develop mental self-control and remember the good thoughts they've often repeated to themselves.

1. I'll respect others and treat them like brothers.
2. Each person I'll treasure and value with pleasure.
3. I'll feel others pain in my heart and my brain.
4. I choose to be kind in my heart and my mind.
5. If your feelings are hurt, I'll be kind and alert.
6. Teamwork is smart when I do my part.
7. I'll give you my ear to listen and hear.
8. It always pays to give honest praise.
9. I'll see and tell you the good that you do.

When children grow up with socially smart thoughts, they remember them as adults. Good self-talk is a gift you can promote. It can last a lifetime.

Ask your child to make up socially intelligent thoughts of their own. Have a rhyming session together. When a special self-talk saying arises, suggest they post it somewhere they'll see often. Use it as a reminder to choose good thoughts.

Conclusion for Parenting Caring Kids

In this article, we've shared childhood behaviors to change, socially aware values to instill, empathic questions to ask, and self-talk rhymes to suggest to your children. Use these ideas to boost your youngsters' social intelligence. If you do, you'll be building your child's character and increasing his future happiness.


Pick up Character Building Stories: Friendship Skills for Raising Happy Children Includes 75 Parenting Tips. Turn your lonely child into a friendly child.

Please watch this brief video: Socially Smart Kids – 6 Parenting Discussions with Children And help your child understand how making friends really works.

Jean Tracy invites you to sign up for her Free Parenting Newsletter and receive:

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