For example, research suggests that when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated.
Surveys reveal that in the United States, parents from European, Asian, Hispanic and African ethnic groups all place far greater importance on caring than achievement
Genetic twin studies suggest that anywhere from a quarter to more than half of our propensity to be giving and caring is inherited
By age 2, children experience some moral emotions — feelings triggered by right and wrong. 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
The researchers randomly assigned the children to receive different types of praise. For some of the children, they praised the action: “It was good that you gave some of your marbles to those poor children. Yes, that was a nice and helpful thing to do.” For others, they praised the character behind the action: “I guess you’re the kind of person who likes to help others whenever you can. Yes, you are a very nice and helpful person.”
A couple of weeks later, when faced with more opportunities to give and share, the children were much more generous after their character had been praised than after their actions had been.
Praising their character helped them internalize it as part of their identities.
The children learned who they were from observing their own actions: I am a helpful person.
it was 22 to 29 percent more effective to encourage them to “be a helper.”
When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices.
Tying generosity to character appears to matter most around age 8, when children may be starting to crystallize notions of identity.
When children cause harm, they typically feel one of two moral emotions: shame or guilt. Despite the common belief that these emotions are interchangeable, research led by the psychologist June Price Tangney reveals that they have very different causes and consequences.
Shame makes children feel small and worthless, and they respond either by lashing out at the target or escaping the situation altogether.
guilt is a negative judgment about an action, which can be repaired by good behavior
When children feel guilt, they tend to experience remorse and regret, empathize with the person they have harmed, and aim to make it right.
The ashamed toddlers were avoiders; the guilty toddlers were amenders.
If we want our children to care about others, we need to teach them to feel guilt rather than shame when they misbehave.
shame emerges when parents express anger, withdraw their love, or try to assert their power through threats of punishment: Children may begin to believe that they are bad people. Fearing this effect, some parents fail to exercise discipline at all, which can hinder the development of strong moral standards
The most effective response to bad behavior is to express disappointment.
parents raise caring children by expressing disappointment and explaining why the behavior was wrong, how it affected others, and how they can rectify the situation. This enables children to develop standards for judging their actions, feelings of empathy and responsibility for others, and a sense of moral identity, which are conducive to becoming a helpful person.
You’re a good person, even if you did a bad thing, and I know you can do better.”
Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do
If you don’t model generosity, preaching it may not help in the short run, and in the long run, preaching is less effective than giving while saying nothing at all
when it comes to producing moral children, we need to remember that action also shapes character.
We live in a culture that does not always encourage or support expressions of loss and, frankly, expects people "to get over" grief fairly quickly
For example, in language arts, students can be told that they will be writing about someone they remember and they can focus on what they miss about that person or how they remember that person in their lives now
In the visual and performing arts, a similar assignment to make the focus of students' products someone they miss or remember.
Of course, students will need to discuss their feelings and perspectives and decide how to represent the emotions and memories involved in a joint product
Among the formats successful for this purpose are songwriting, choreography, and artistic renditions such as painting, sculpture, collage, and graphic art.
Other formats that cross over disciplines include comic books/graphic novels and documentary making
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