Sunday, June 10, 2012

Teach Your Kids to be Good: Part Two

Be good!  If you're good you'll get a treat. If you're bad you'll be punished.

Parents, pay attention.  You're not really teaching about goodness and evil, handing out happiness and pain on some moral basis, like a watchful god.  Mostly, you just want your kids to shut up, play quietly, and not raise a fuss. You want them to learn that goodness equals passivity and compliance, the two evils that lead adults to everything from not voting to genocide.

We even report that tiny babies were "good" if they slept soundly and didn't cry a lot.

Please teach kids that goodness means acting with compassion. Show them that goodness leads to more goodness, measured in the quality of family relationships. A parent who is gentle and available and interested will be more likely to have a child who feels free to express big feelings with  instead of aggression. A parent who shows tenderness and affection to the other parent is more likely to have a child who feels safe and comfortable with change and challenge. A child who sees parents being generous with money and possessions will be more likely to share toys and kindnesses. Demonstrations are a hundred times more valuable than explanations in this regard, and a thousand times more useful than punishments and bribes.

Show your children how to be good.