Teaching kindness is a part of raising children. It is a part of teaching toddler through teen ages.
Along with teaching kindness, parents and teachers often get involved in a fight to destroy bullying. In a recent study, 77% of students said they had been bullied. Think about it. Out of every four students in the study, three had been bullied.
Teaching kindness in the right way can change those statistics. Teaching kindness correctly can destroy bullying.
You – the Model
Parents and teachers must become prime models if they hope to succeed at teaching kindness. You must “become” kindness for young people. That means you exercise this character trait toward your students, but it also means you exercise it toward others. You eat, sleep, and breathe kindliness.
Young people should be able to say of those who are teaching kindness, “They are always kind to everyone.”
You don’t have to like everyone toward whom you exercise this character trait, but you do have to love: do what is best for them.
What else can you do to become a model of kindliness?
- Watch for needs. Observe people, and note their needs.
- Offer help. Kindliness tries to fill observed needs.
- Be sincere and attach no strings to your offers.
- Be humble about your kind acts – or even anonymous.
Teaching Kindness to Uninvolved Students
Parents and teachers teaching kindness to children and teens who are neither bullies nor bullied can enlist those students with concerned adults in a concerted kindliness effort.
You may want to separate uninvolved students from bullies and the bullied for teaching kindness. You will allow this group of students to apply their lessons in the destruction of bullying.
Teach students to watch, first of all, for needs the bullies and bullied have. Bullying will only be destroyed when you see the needs.
Bullying statistics show that children and teens who bully or who are bullied often have these needs:
- They feel lonely.
- They can’t make friends.
- They aren’t doing well academically.
- They are addicted to smoking, drinking, or drugs.
Show the students and adults in your effort practical action steps they can take to meet those needs in loving ways. If everyone to whom you are teaching kindness works together to alleviate loneliness, think how quickly that need will be met. If everyone sacrifices personal desires to make friends with the bullies and the bullied, another need is met. Students who are skilled in academics can be paired with bullies and the bullied to help them achieve academically. The sincere, loving involvement of teachers and parents can help conquer addictions and negative behaviors.
Teaching Kindness to Bullies and the Bullied
Teaching kindness to bullies and the bullied themselves is the final step in destroying bullying.
How do you go about teaching kindness to bullies? How do you start teaching kindness to bullied children? Shouldn’t these two groups be recipients only of kind actions? Isn’t it enough for others to show kindliness to them?
Actually, we get more joy from exercising this trait toward others than we do from receiving others’ kind actions toward us.
When teaching kindness, it is important to require that bullies and the bullied get involved. Teach them separately from other students and give specialized help.
Challenge both groups to look for needs in the other group. Make it a contest. Who can see more needs: bullies or the bullied? List the needs, and then create opportunities for them to go out of themselves to meet the needs of others.
Teaching kindness to destroy bullying is not an exercise in futility – as long as you commit yourself to its success. Commit time. Commit effort. Commit resources. You owe it to your students and your community to eradicate bullying.