Bullying has played an increasingly large role in our kids’ lives as a result of the media and other mediums allowing for things like cyber-bullying. A recent Time magazine article came out talking about how to Deprogram Bullies with Kindness. Some of the proponents of this work include Dr. Daniel Siegel, author of The Mindful Therapist, and the Dalai Lama, among others.
This makes complete sense to me. If we can cultivate a sense of kindness and compassion in our kids at an early age and encourage the social neurocircuitry of their brains in a positive way, then perhaps we can prevent increased bullying.
So the question is what are our resources?
Roots of Empathy & Seeds of Empathy – These are sister anti-bullying programs that are in over 40 schools and intervene at the family and education level to provide the structure to cultivate empathy and compassion with parents and kids.
Parenting From the Inside Out – Here is a book by Daniel Siegel, M.D. & Mary Hertzell, M.Ed., about intervening at the parent level to explore how our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. This is all in service of helping us to foster more compassion and resiliency in our children. This book was a hard sell at first to publishers as they thought parents wouldn’t want to look at themselves when it came to their children’s issues, but would instead want a book that could fix” their children. Like those many movie houses who passed on Star Wars, since then, the book has spread like wildfire.
The Mindful Child – Here is a book that recently arrived by Susan Kaiser Greenland who started the inner kids program and also the recent site Mindfulness Together. This is a very practically oriented book that gives us the step by step around cultivating a more compassionate and caring child.
There is no doubt that infusing a culture of more caring and compassionate children starts with us. How can we cultivate more of this for ourselves so we can teach our children to do the same? Where else are they going to learn it from? Becoming kinder and more mindful has tremendous cultural implications for generations to come.
Why not start today? Spend time with mindful listening to the children in your life. Take the time to truly attune to their feelings, this is how they learn. You can also pick up a book, get engaged with a practice, and inquire deeper into the organizations listed above to see how you can begin making an impact on your own life and those of our children.
How do you cultivate kindness, empathy and compassion with children?
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. If you know other resources, please list them below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.