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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Raising Generous Children

EXchange EveryDAY - Repost
April 29, 2014
A knife will not cut its own handle.
-Persian Proverb

In a fascinating New York Times article, "How to Raise a Moral Child," Adam Grant makes some recommendations about how to encourage generous behavior and discourage misbehavior, based on research, that sometimes fly in the face of common early childhood education perspectives:

"To reinforce caring as the right behavior, research indicates, praise is more effective than rewards.  Rewards run the risk of leading children to be kind only when a carrot is offered, whereas praise communicates that sharing is intrinsically worthwhile for its own sake....."

"...for [promoting] moral behaviors, nouns work better than verbs.  To get 3- to 6-year-olds to help with a task, rather than inviting them 'to help,' it wa s 22 to 29 percent more effective to encourage them 'to be a helper.'  Cheating was cut in half when instead of, 'Please don't cheat,' participants were told, 'Please don't be a cheater.'

"When children cause harm, they typically feel one of two emotions: shame or guilt....Shame is the feeling that I am a bad person, whereas guilt is the feeling that I have done a bad thing.  Shame is a negative judgment about the core self, which is devastating.  Shame makes children feel small and worthless, and they respond either by lashing out at the target or escaping the situation altogether.  In contrast, guilt is a negative judgment about an action, which can be repaired by good behavior. When children feel guilty, they tend to experience remorse and regret, empathize with the person they have harmed, and aim to make it right."