By Kristina Wright
Every parent wants to raise conscientious, moral, other-oriented kids who are respectful and grow up to be good people. But can you teach a child to be kind? And what do you do when you catch you child being unkind? In those situations, parents often need practical advice.
How to Raise Kind Kids
In his new book, developmental psychologist Thomas Lickona tells readers up front, “This is a book about kindness.” Lickona has been called “the father of modern character education” for good reason. He is the author of eight books on character development. In addition, he is the founding director of the Center for the 4th and 5th Rs (Respect and Responsibility) at SUNY Cortland, where he was a professor of childhood education for 40 years.
Parents and educators looking for a practical framework for instilling and nurturing kindness will find it here. With the tone of a contemporary Mr. Rogers, Lickona emphasizes throughout his book that kindness matters. He backs up his advice with decades of wisdom and research, along with real stories of families he’s worked with.
Recipe for Raising Kind Kids
His recipe for raising kind kids includes traditional staples like good communication, family meetings, and household chores. As to discipline, Lickona recommends consistent boundaries, high expectations, and firm but fair consequences. Some of his attitudes may feel outdated in an era of smartphones and social media. His core message, however, is simple: Encourage altruism, teach by example, and be available to your children.
Because Lickona’s back-to-basics approach offers a solid (albeit old-fashioned) parenting guide, the emphasis on traditional values will resonate with many parents. An extensive list of resources, including conversation-starters, reading lists, quotes, and family project recommendations makes How to Raise Kind Kids a fine addition to the parenting toolkit.
Kristina Wright is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Your Teen Magazine.