In a Harvard study, 80% of children ranked achievement and happiness over caring for others.
Compassion is a trait parents hope to pass on to their children. Caring for others is essential in a world often plagued by chaos. But pushy parents can unfortunately place so much pressure on their child that achievement can be ranked above caring for their fellow person. Money is the root of all evil, as they say. And parents are preaching dollars over kindness.
Kids are the future, and should be taught accordingly. While obtaining strong results in education is desired, empathy is just as important. Parents can’t just want their children to respect others; they need to ensure their position as a role model displays the need to treat others in the same way they wish to be treated.
Are we sending the wrong messages to kids? Have we set a good example for them? What will our society become if we let this continue?
The Money Talk
In a recent survey, it was found that 9 out of 10 parents discuss money and finances with their young, but only 43% of those parents feel confident in their knowledge of the matter. Are children being told to focus on money rather than co-workers, loved ones and acquaintances? And is the advice sound?
This 18% increase in parental conversation since 2003 demonstrates the positioning of money in the mind of mothers and fathers. And they’re not raising topics such as credit ratings, investments and emergency funds; the topics are comparing prices, deciding what can be afforded and understanding wants/needs. This advice has no grounds in wealth. It focuses on smart shopping and saving a buck at the supermarket.
86% of parents responded to the survey by saying that their children would learn about finance from them. Not schools, not employers, but them (even though 70% of these people have no formal education in finance). These percentages are staggering considering that 79% of teens look to their parents as a primary source of industry knowledge. But on what grounds can they lecture others? Bad experiences? Lack of financial stability? Hoping to get rich on a lifelong investment born years earlier?
55% of teens say they do not talk to their parents about their own financial issues. The older people are preaching, and the youth are keeping issues to themselves. How can this system be working if conversation is the only one way?
Empathy is the key
Michele Borba, child psychologist, said: “Studies show that kids’ ability to feel for others affects their health, wealth and authentic happiness as well as their emotional, social, cognitive development and performance. Empathy activates conscience and moral reasoning, improves happiness, curbs bullying and aggression, enhances kindness and peer inclusiveness, reduces prejudice and racism, promotes heroism and moral courage and boosts relationship satisfaction. Empathy is a key ingredient of resilience, the foundation to trust, the benchmark of humanity, and core to everything that makes a society civilized.”
This excerpt from her email outlines how important caring for others is. It tells us that the 20% of children not choosing achievement are the future, and the other 80% need further education. The issue falls onto the shoulders of parents.
Children look up to their mothers and fathers. They are the first role model encountered, and even through rebellious younger years they still fear, listen to and respect them. Advice will be heeded. Pushy parents, unfortunately, are all too common. Their selfish ways will influence the same attributes in their young, in a sequence that continues onto the next generation.
There are better ways to educate a child. Books are obvious, but other sources such as looking up professionals on YouTube and listening to podcasts can set the foundations for future success. By leading a child to these resources, a parent can then focus on teaching manners, respect and courtesy.
Featured photo credit: Ashton Bingham via unsplash.com